Awake And Breathe

B*Witched

Glowworm / Epic Records, 1999

http://myspace.com/bwitchedonline

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/30/1999

There's something about being a teeny-bopper band that is inherently dangerous. If you choose not to try and evolve, you're accused of riding the coattails of your previous success -- or, even worse, that you've creatively run out of steam. But if you try to evolve your image and your sound, you run the risk of losing the same fanbase that made you a star in the first place. It's really a no-win situation.

Into this arena steps B*Witched, the four-piece Irish girl group who might not have conquered these shores with their self-titled debut, but proved they were more than fluff with tracks such as "C'est La Vie" and "Blame It On The Weatherman". So what were they going to do for an encore?

I had a feeling that things weren't looking good when the cover of their second disc, Awake And Breathe, dared to show a little more, aah, femininity than the first disc. Uh-oh. Warning sign number two: taking a song from their first disc and re-fitting it with a new image. This gives us the orchestral version of "Blame It On The Weatherman". Why do I get the feeling that the fame clock has just hit the 10-minute mark?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Truth is, Awake And Breathe is a step down from B*Witched's first album, but isn't totally dreadful. But while there are still some very enjoyable moments on this disc, there are signs that this effort might have been a bit rushed.

For one thing, the harmonies between the four girls -- Lindsay, Keavy, Edele and Sinead -- just aren't as pronounced as they were on B*Witched -- bad move, since the harmonies were what made that first disc so catchy. Oh, they're still present on Awake And Breathe in songs like "Jesse Hold On" and "Red Indian Girl," but they don't stand out like one would hope they would.

Second, the songwriting isn't as strong - evident from the disc's first track "If It Don't Fit," an attempt to dip their toes into the world of funk-pop. And it's sad to see how far Ladysmith Black Mambazo has slipped over the years. One minute, they're bringing the concept of world music alive thanks to their collaboration with Paul Simon; the next, they're reduced to a backup group on "I Shall Be There." It's almost as if they were put on the disc to make B*Witched seem more mature - but Ladysmith Black Mambazo sounds incredibly out of place.

And while I admitted the lyrics dipped occasionally into the banal on B*Witched, things are starting to get out of hand. Sample lyric from "The Shy One": "Get up on the ceiling / You don't know what I'm feeling / Act your age and not your shoe size." Oh, please .

Be all of this as it may, Awake And Breathe still contains some enjoyable moments that remind people just what made B*Witched so charming in the first place. Tracks like "Jesse Hold On," "Jump Down," "Are You A Ghost?" and "My Superman" all show that this group still knows what it takes to please the masses. If only there were more moments like these on the disc.

Awake And Breathe is a step down for B*Witched, a group that is capable of so much better. Let's hope the third time is the charm for these ladies - that is, if the fickle tastes of their audience will still find them appealing when that album comes.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Glowworm / Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.