Monday , December 4 2023

Dressy Bessy

From the band’s name, you’d expect Denver’s Dressy Bessy to sound just like the kind of band that’d contribute a tribute to Powerpuff cutey-pie Bubbles on the first Powerpuff Girls cd. But after listening to the band’s new and self-titled Kindercore release this happily proves to be only a piece of the story. Led by girly-voiced Tammy Ealon and abetted by Apples in Stereo fret-man John Hill, the band’s 3rd disc comes across as an inspired marriage between last splashin’ Breeders and Irish punk-poppers the Undertones: more songs about chocolate and art-girls backed with plenty of scrappily buzz-filled guitar.
Thus, the opener “Just One More” washes in with janglyspeed chordwork as Tammy nonchalantly sings about trying to find a space on the wall for just one more painting. “The Things That You Say That You Do” breezily shrugs about an untrustworthy lover with an addictive, if lyrically oblique, chorus (“You were right/They’re all wrong/Like the things that you say that you do,”) while “Baby Six String” paints a picture of a would-be grrl rocker, with a great feedback filled bridge and a guitar hook that somehow recalls the Flaming Groovies. Ealon’s melodic singing voice is equal to the band’s chording and occasional cymbal-heavy drumming, and unlike most of what passes for alt pop songwriting these days, she’s also able to craft a full, varied set of songs. There are more full songs on this disc than you’ll find in the entire Breeders catalog.
Despite the presence of way too many jimmyeatworlds-come-lately on the racks, this has been a strong year for smart-pop. By the time Tammy and the guys get to the zippy “Better Luck” (which really could‘ve come off the Undertones’ classic second album), it’s clear that the Band w./ the Funny Doll Name is more than just another bunch of retro-minded power poppers or sentimental emo-types. They know the joys of good “falling songs,” less-is-more production and harmony that isn’t afraid to be pretty even when the lyrics aren’t. “It’s uncool to be common,” Ealon advises her would-be rock star(starlet?) on “Baby Six String.” Thankfully, Dressy Bessy is anything but. . .

About Bill Sherman

Bill Sherman is a Books editor for Blogcritics. With his lovely wife Rebecca Fox, he has co-authored a light-hearted fat acceptance romance entitled Measure By Measure.

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