In examining Dressy Bessy’s third full-length album, the listener has to first ask what it is he or she looks for in music. If the answer to this question is creativity, originality and distinguishable musical talent, then this album doesn’t pass the test. However, if the answer is cheery, catchy but imitated tunes, drop your pom-poms, run to the record store and purchase this CD immediately.
Dressy Bessy is a clear-cut example of the retro-rock wave sweeping modern music’s sea floor clean of anything worth listening to. To artists and listeners everywhere, some clarification is badly needed. This is not the sixties. The era’s influence in modern music is tolerable when bands such as The Strokes and The Vines do it with skill, but even they lose credit for squandering the opportunity to create something totally new.
Dressy Bessy doesn’t even warrant that much credit. The band’s music is nauseatingly trite. The cheesy guitar riffs are worn from a thousand uses, and still they are the bright spots of musical instrumentation.
Occasionally, a melody from lead guitarist John Hill pokes its head out in whispers of creativity (akin to the intro of “Georgie Blue”) but is quickly swallowed up by the drone of the catchy rhythm guitar aiming to lodge itself in the listener’s head. They just have to make sure they don’t turn into the plastic vintage doll the band is named after.
The bass and drums, performed by Rob Greene and Darren Albert, respectively, are virtually nonexistent, with the former never straying far from notes mapped out by the guitar, and the latter hammering out the simplest four-beat time signatures.
Singer Tammie Ealom’s voice is the best thing to listen to on this album, a standard characteristic of pop music. She has good pitch, though her range is lacking. Ealom also shows some competent songwriting, generally relating to a female perspective on relationships. This is exemplified on “This May Hurt (a little),” a tune about the disintegration of an old friendship, and also on “Girl, You Shout!” where Ealom sings: “Its not the first time in your life/ You’ll find that your mother/ She’s let you down … Rediscover the sturdy ground.” On the opening track, “Just Once More,” Ealom sings about her mind’s path of self-destruction: “…In time it’ll disappear/ I’ll enjoy being here.” This is the kind of thought process that is destroying hope for Dressy Bessy’s musical future. Other songs on the LP tarnish this exhibition of expression by reinforcing the album and the band’s main message: “I may be empty inside, but at least I’m happy.”
The more people support the existence of bands like Dressy Bessy, the less motivation there is for record companies to produce original, artistic music. Eventually, there will be no style of music left for bands to regurgitate. And then what will Dressy Bessy do?