Dressy Bessy - Electrified
Tim Miller 25/07/2005
They say you should never judge a book by its cover, and 'they' have given an extremely valuable piece of advice; advice that should really be extended to album covers too. Dressy Bessy's gently psychedelic retro cover promises much. The album itself delivers nothing.
Being unashamedly 'pop' can work - giant careers for the likes of S Club 7 and, more recently, McFly, have shown that. But Dressy Bessy take (or possibly drag) it to its extremities. The album is comprised of 12 childishly simple pop songs, with irritating hooks, weak lyrics and a stunning lack of quality songwriting throughout.
At the very best, and being incredibly generous, Dressy Bessy achieve something like a Blondie sound, on She Likes it and particularly Side 2; by a country mile the best track of an otherwise poor bunch. This is due mainly to the sultry vocals of Tammy Ealom, however, who sounds a genuinely talented female vocalist let down by lyrics that appear to be rejected McFly B-side efforts. These lyrics are apparently 'witty and compelling', though the reality begs to differ: “Suspicion, don't push me down, don't write me off, 'cause you're six feet tall” and absurdly: “Ringalingaling and yeah you pass, ringalingaling, lala la la la”. Dreadful stuff.
The overall sound here is what you'd expect of standard, 3-minute pop-rock (ha) songs too: soft-fuzz guitars, cheery vocal melodies and a simple lead guitar solo here and there. The dearth of clever songwriting renders this sound ineffectual by about track 6, which is sadly only half way through the CD. Hello Hello for example is instantly forgettable, while Ringalingaling is laughable: the sort of song school kid bands write when they're starting out. 3-chord pop reigns supreme on It Happens All The Time and She Likes It, but to be honest who cares?
I hate to be so harsh, but I'm truly appalled, and confused. This album poses so many questions: why was it not restricted to an EP, which would have at least separated the little wheat from the bulk of chaff? Who commissioned it to be recorded in the first place? Why? Did someone honestly sign Dressy Bessy as in investment? On what grounds? Where on earth can this album be marketed? In 2005, there's no call for an album like this at all: ashamedly pure pop done badly, without catchy choruses or memorable melodies. There's little hope for Dressy Bessy and they will, surely, be consigned to being a band performing covers of old favourites, on cruise ships, within the next 6 months.