September 18, 2023

Dressy Bessy - Holler & Stomp (2008)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Pop
Label Number: TR125

© 2008 Transdreamer Records 
On their fifth album, it seems that Dressy Bessy have discovered the minor chord. No longer content as a purveyor of the peppy Elephant Six spirit, they've left sunny pastures behind in search of a darker sound. Think of this as their attempt at maturity by way of toning down the spunk. Recorded with a certain listlessness that could easily be construed as boredom, Holler and Stomp is a curve ball that veers away from the group's long-running trademark bubblegummy pop-punk sound, the same way that Sleater-Kinney flipped the script for The Woods and Shonen Knife changed their tune in Genki Shock. Unfortunately, while these other artists' albums showed that they were capable of accomplishing greatness when branching out, Dressy Bessy's direction here falls a bit flat. Where Shonen Knife added a metal edge and Sleater-Kinney served up some sludgy hard rock, Tammy Ealom and the crew try their hand at no wave and early post-punk by adding some angular basslines, jerking up the rhythms, and dirtying up the guitars. While the idea of Belly performing songs by Wire sounds intriguing on paper, Dressy Bessy's new musical ideas (diminishing half-step progressions, winding structures, and clashing modal scales) aren't drastic enough departures to be engaging, and instead get in the way of their poppy sensibilities. It's not a completely lackluster effort, though. The cowbell and tambourine-infused "Dressed the Part" and the mentions of whirlybirds, candygrams, and doo doos in "Shoot, I Love You" act as reminders of just how much fun Dressy Bessy can be at their simplest, flashing back to their Pink Hearts Yellow Moons era. It's understandable that after penning some 60 songs of summery music, a change was necessary to keep things interesting, but by incorporating the element of dissonance in the new blueprint, they downplayed their most appealing component: their syrupy sweet hook.

 tags: dressy bessy, holler and stomp, 2008, flac,


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