Print, Reviews June 10, 2019

Album Review: Dressy Bessy – Fast Faster Disaster

by Ryan Murphy

If you just heard Dressy Bessy for the first time, you missed quite a lot. Formed in Denver in the late ’90s from the same seminal Elephant 6 collective that gave birth to Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel, the Tammy Ealom and John Hill-led group released half a dozen reliably enjoyable records over the next decade-and-a-half, lending songs to movie soundtracks, major network dramas, and making a handful of late-night appearances on late-night talk shows. By any account, Dressy Bessy is a Colorado cause célèbre and a significant influence on a Gen-Z subset who has, in recent years, revitalized their brand of lo-fi ‘90s guitar pop for a whole new audience.

The good news is the band continues to demonstrate why they’re such a beloved local treasure – just as vibrant and vital as when they unleashed Pink Hearts, Yellow Moons to great acclaim 20 years ago. Dressy Bessy will release their seventh offering, Fast Faster Disaster, June 14 on Yep Roc Records – 11 delightfully fuzzy new tracks and a blistering rendition of the Buzzcock’s “What Do I Get?” honoring the recently departed Pete Shelley.

Ealom’s performance continues to be a masterclass in vocal expression. Gone are the fragile helium harmonies from the band’s early output, but replaced by a tidal wave of sass and élan, weaving unshakable singalongs and snappy Sprechgesang between Hill’s germanium-driven counterpoint. In an internet culture that can feel increasingly exhausting and spiteful, Fast Faster Disaster dares you to put it all aside for 30 minutes and bop across your kitchen floor wearing your best neon stripes and polka dots.

Dressy Bessy may be two decades removed from their initial accolades, but, with this new album, it’s easy to fall in love with the band all over again.

Dressy Bessy will mark the release of Fast Faster Disaster June 13 at The Downtown Artery in Fort Collins and back-to-back shows on June 14 and 15 at Denver’s Lion’s Lair Lounge.