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Album Review: B*Witched ages like fine wine on new EP 'Champagne or Guinness'

B*Witched "Champagne or Guinness" EP

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Irish pop act B*Witched is back with its first release in over a decade. Following a comeback on the U.K. series “The Big Reunion” last year, the group dropped the 6-track EP “Champagne or Guinness” on Wednesday (April 30). This time the ladies are doing it for themselves, sourcing funds from fans and completely bypassing the whole record label system. They overhaul the bubblegum sound of their previous efforts in favor of more contemporary dance-pop beats. B*Witched still supplies some jig-worthy jams, though, proving their charming music only gets better with time.

B*Witched "Champagne or Guinness" EP cover
B*Witched official Twitter account

B*Witched broke out on the music scene in 1998 with the bubbly “C'est La Vie,” a Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit. A platinum-selling debut album soon followed along with a moderately successful sophomore release but the girls were later released from their label in 2002. Fast-forward to 2013 and sisters Edele and Keavy Lynch along with Lindsay Armaou and Sinéad O'Carroll are B*Witched once again on “The Big Reunion.” After working through some old issues, they brought '90s nostalgia to fans with old hits and now the ladies are finding their footing in a different music landscape on “Champagne or Guinness.”

B*Witched's core fan base has since moved on from Pokémon cards to bar-hopping as ways of having fun so Edele, Keavy, Lindsay and Sinéad smartly acknowledge that on the rowdy party jam “Champagne or Guinness.” Familiar jiggin' violins open the standout track before shimmering beats hit. The ladies unite for a good time, joyously singing, “Champagne or Guinness / It doesn't matter 'til we're finished.” With the EP's title track, B*Witched provide their grown fans with a new Friday night anthem.

The ladies keep the party going with “The Stars Are Ours,” a beautiful slice of folktronica. Like Avicii's “Wake Me Up,” B*Witched mixes their organic sound with an EDM edge. The group's picturesque lyricism shines the most here with lines like “Soaring in the sky / Flying up so high / Stars are out tonight,” illuminating the track even more. B*Witched continues exploring folk music on “Waiting All This Time” and “Fighting for the Drop.” Edele, Keavy, Lindsay and Sinéad's voices are better highlighted on the whole EP but the aforementioned songs bring out their most soulful performances yet. The foursome really digs deep on the rustic records to give B*Witched fans a rawer listening experience they can still dance to.

Prior to recording the “Champagne or Guinness” EP, B*Witched commemorated its return last year with the very telling “Love & Money.” Having seen the highs and lows of the music industry at their peak, the ladies reflect on the experience with this powerful pop-rock tune. “Give into the love / What you're thinking of,” they warn amidst lyrics of the fast life. B*Witched packs a pop wallop like the old days and then some on “Love & Money.”

B*Witched rounds out the “Champagne or Guinness” EP with “We've Forgotten How,” a heartbreaking ballad that is subtly reminiscent of its sentimental classics like “Blame it on the Weatherman.” Both sonically and personally, Edele, Keavy, Lindsay and Sinéad have grown since enchanting audiences worldwide with their debut album in 1998. On their own terms, they play around with the sounds of today while still putting the group's signature stamp on it. Not sure about Guinness but like champagne, B*Witched seems to get better with age on the new EP.

B*Witched's "Champagne or Guinness" EP is exclusively available on PledgeMusic.com