Dressy Bessy

Electrified

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Dressy Bessy's fourth album continues where their last album, 2003's Dressy Bessy, left off. That album featured a shift away from the band's cheerful, bubble pop sound toward a darker, more adult feeling manifested in Tammy Ealom's tougher vocals, a beefed-up guitar sound, and more aggressive lyrics. Electrified is even tougher sounding, the guitars and Ealom's vocals are even more aggressive this time out, and the group sounds miles away from their early records with only the sweet and bouncy "Who'd Stop the Rain" giving any clue to the ramshackle cuties they once were. The album's sound is a step away from the lo-fi shamble of their first efforts, sounding resolutely slick and pro but with enough life to escape being overly produced and safe sounding. No record that featured Ealom's conversational and artless vocals could ever be too slick anyway; she has a way of sliding around the notes that gives her a charming punk-next-door appeal. Perfect for the kind of tough punk-pop numbers ("Side 2," "It Happens All the Time," "Small," and "Call It Even Later") that predominate on the album. The mood, as on Dressy Bessy, is angry and melancholy with only a couple of songs like the aforementioned "Who'd Stop the Rain" and "Electrified," a funky new wave groover that has some fine sassy vocals from Ealom, around to lighten the mood. The overall tone of the album, and the fact that they have made two records in a row like it, might be enough to chase away many of the band's original fans for good, but those who stick around will be treated to an album of fine, fizzy adult punk-pop with a mean streak and a broken heart. Dressy Bessy are as pure and true as ever.

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