If you had to describe Denver, Colorado’s Dressy Bessy in one word, that word would be “retro.” The clothes they wear, the bands they emulate, their happy outlook — everything about the band screams throwback. Bands that just want to have fun are is short supply these days, so it’s refreshing to see a band with such an attitude. And Electrified, their fourth, is kind of fun — for awhile. Dressy Bessy is a one-trick pony, and twelve songs of the same fuzzed-out retro-rock riffs are too much for one person to take at once.
The repetitive, stagnant guitar work of vocalist Tammy Ealom and John Hill (also of the Apples in Stereo) isn’t the album’s only problem. What’s really confounding about Electrified is that it was billed as a huge step forward for the band in terms of songwriting. Ealom has many fine qualities: she’s a charismatic performer, an effective vocalist and a snappy dresser. She is not, however, a wordsmith.
Need proof? Look no further than one of the insightful couplets on “Ringaling”: “Ringalingaling and yeah you pass/ Ringalingaling la la la la la.” This is only one of the many affronts perpetrated against the English language on this record. “She Likes It” isn’t just banal, it’s also extremely lazy. In just more than two minutes, Ealom utters the words “like it” eighteen times. That works out to once every 7.6 seconds. Take a minute and allow that to sink in.
Nobody can accuse Dressy Bessy of lacking in charm. Unfortunately, charm isn’t enough to keep Electrified afloat. The band’s vintage-laced power-pop may seem sweet enough at first, but by the end it just leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.