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Night Mode

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Night Mode album cover
Night Mode
Album Information

Total Tracks: 1   Total Length: 3:35

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They Say All Music Guide

Part of the explosion of late-’90s British bubblegum pop acts which briefly made an impact in the U.S., denim-clad Irish girl-band B*Witched have kept a rather dignified silence in the subsequent decade when compared to the half-hearted reunions and tawdry reality TV appearances of S Club 7 and Steps. Which makes the re-emergence of two of its members, twin sisters Keavy and Edele Lynch, as a restyled, PVC-wearing Lady Gaga-esque duo named Barbarellas, both completely out of the blue and rather bewildering. Eleven years older since they last graced the charts, the siblings of Boyzone’s Shane have understandably ditched the Celtic-tinged teenybopper sound of their heyday on debut album Night Mode. But even though they’re no stranger to more grown-up girl pop material (Edele has penned tracks for both Sugababes and Girls Aloud), its 12 tracks feel like a slightly calculated move to belatedly jump on the ubiquitous electro-pop bandwagon. Produced by Yoad Nevo (Goldfrapp, Pet Shop Boys), the album certainly comes equipped with a solid pedigree, but both the girls indistinct and often Auto-Tuned vocals and lightweight melodies fail to make much of an impact against the layers of formulaic chunky synths, plodding electro beats, and sub-Moroder basslines that dominate the likes of the ’80s-tinged “Do to Me” and the acidic techno of “Could You Ever.” Lyrically, they’re just as unconvincing, as the constant risqué references feel like self-consciously desperate attempts to banish their squeaky-clean past, something that rhymes like “if you want to be cool, take it back to school” on the Kylie-esque title track, certainly counteract. However, when the pair veer away from their bargain-basement Gaga tendencies, they begin to show glimpses of the pop magic which scored four consecutive number ones in their previous incarnation. “Kiss from a Ghost” and “Faith in Me” are spacious power ballads in the vein of Ryan Tedder’s signature epics, “Turn Me On” adds some crunching guitars to the mix on a surprisingly effective nu-metal/electro hybrid, while closing number “Smokin’” is an atmospheric slice of shimmering dancehall. Apart from their ill-advised try-hard image displayed on the album’s front cover, Night Mode is by no means an embarrassment, and several of its tracks would quite easily fit onto most commercial clubs’ playlists. But there’s very little here that would encourage fans of dance-pop to give them a chance instead of sticking with the electro divas that Barbarellas are so obviously trying to emulate. – Jon O’Brien

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