Cranberries find new 'chemistry' after nine-year break

PARIS - Tired of non-stop touring and hurting for inspiration, The Cranberries hung up their guitars in 2003. Nine years on, the Irish rockers say the chemistry came right back for their new album "Roses", to be released on Monday.

The quartet from Limerick shot to fame in the 1990s with hits like "Linger" and the politically-charged "Zombie" about the Northern Ireland conflict, lifted by the powerful voice of singer Dolores O'Riordan.

They sold 40 million records worldwide, becoming one of the flagship bands of the decade, but by 2003, two years after releasing their album "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee", they had hit a dead end.

"In 2003, my son was five, my daughter was two. They were very little and I brought them both on the road," O'Riordan told AFP. "There was a point when I just felt it wasn't fair on them."

"Also creatively, we were stuck in a rut. We just needed a break."

So they went their separate ways, O'Riordan heading to a far-flung corner of Canada where she gave birth to two more children, while the rest of the band stayed put in Ireland.

And that could have been the end of the story, were it not for Trinity College, Dublin, which invited the singer to become an honorary patron of its philosophical society in 2009.

Asked by the university to perform for the occasion, she looked up her old companions - and the question of getting back together came up.

"It felt like yesterday. It was in fact six and a half years I hadn't seen them," O'Riordan said. "We went to the pub and over a beer Mike (Hogan, the bass player) said we should do it now because we're not getting any younger."

And that was how the tour that O'Riordan - now 40, like Hogan - was about to embark on for her second solo album was turned into a Cranberries comeback tour, playing 107 dates around the world.