Dressy Bessy

Dressy Bessy's debut full-length, 1999's Pink Hearts Yellow Moons, was the sonic equivalent of a sugar rush -- but after two similar followups, singer Tammy Ealom's perky vivacity began to feel a bit overwhelming, like a laugh track turned up too loud. Fortunately, the combo's new disc finds a happier medium.

That's not to say Ealom is suddenly channeling Sylvia Plath; she and her bandmates still like their words and melodies bright and shiny. But while "Ringalingaling" is cutesy enough to trigger a diabetic coma, tracks such as "Second Place," "She Likes It" and "Electrified" benefit from louder guitars, vocals that often linger in the lower registers, and a willingness to let entertainment value ripen at a more natural pace. The disc, which is being celebrated at a Friday, June 17, CD-release party at the Gothic Theatre that co-stars Hot IQs and the Jessica Fletchers, is more enjoyable than its immediate predecessors, because Ealom and company are confident enough not to force the fun.

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