Music News

Dressy Bessy

There's a deliciously distorted sound to the guitars in most of Dressy Bessy's songs. It's still sweet, with rich, grinding tones that are somehow warm and aggressive at the same time. It's just twisted, like razors filtered through a candy sieve.

Continuing in the same sugarcoated vein as Pink Hearts Yellow Moons -- the group's debut album -- SoundGoRound invites all kinds of food metaphors but is impossible to dismiss as cheese pop. Though there is definitely a cuddly aspect to Dressy Bessy that aligns it philosophically with the Apples in Stereo (guitarist John Hill plays in both bands) and many of the artists on the light-as-air Kindercore imprint, SoundGoRound proves that the band isn't all about niceties. The songs on the album, which sees official release on Thursday, February 28, at the 15th Street Tavern, swirl like a giant lollipop around the core of Tammy Ealon's endearingly flat good-girl vocals as she muses on subjects that include buttercups, boys and valentines. And though songs like "I Saw Cinnamon" start out with a deceptive series of straightforward, three-chord pop snippets, they almost invariably end up going places the Beach Boys never imagined chords should or could go.

Dressy Bessy has a gift, similar to Kurt Cobain's, for boldly taking chord patterns to the furthest reaches of acceptable groupings, combining weird minor choruses with those saccharine lyrics and vice versa. There is a subversive underpinning to both the lyrics and the song structures: The musicians in Dressy Bessy lure you into thinking you know what they're going to do next, then they pull a fast one on you. This quality, even more so than its sweet veneer, is what makes the band's approach to indie pop so tasty.

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Kurt Brighton