Dressy Bessy – Sound Go Round

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 2)

Sometimes I think I am a bad fan. I honestly forgot that I owned so much Dressy Bessy in general, and this album in particular. I usually reach for the self-titled third album or even the more recent Kingsized when I want to hear some DB, and shame on me, because Sound Go Round is at least the equal of those albums. This thing is a bright shining gem that I could listen to forever.

What I Think of This Album

There is an explicit reference to Rubber Soul (“Tag”) and if you want to decree it so, possibly a sideways one to Neil Young (“I Saw Cinnamon”). And indeed, the album is full of ‘60s pop melodies and fat distorted leads (though hardly as knotty as Young’s), plus an increased reliance on keyboards.

The affecting “Tag” lasts less than a minute and segues seamlessly into “There’s a Girl,” which sparkles with glee (and keyboards). “That’s Why” is a fun, rollicking number with great guitar and bass work, and on which Ealom harnesses her less-than-classically-good voice into something that conveys grit and winsomeness in equal measure. In fact, Ealom is an underrated singer; she can shift from innocent to tough in a half-second and more importantly, she knows when to do it and what each song needs.

There is a very slight psychedelic facet to circular “Oh Mi Amour,” with a Farfisa sound in the background. John Hill chunks away pleasantly on “Buttercups,” but the song is overtaken by swirling keyboards. More straightforward is the aggressive “Maybe Laughter,” balancing Hill’s gritty tone with Ealom’s sweetly sour vocals and some soothing keys on top. The band continues down its candy-colored, sing-song path with bouncy “Big To Do,” which maybe skews towards precious but is enjoyable anyway.

“All These Colors” is an experiment that doesn’t work at all, starting out with a relatively sparse arrangement that doesn’t offer much before shifting into a strange, instrumental second half that seems the product of too many hallucinogens. The keyboards feature again as the band goes sweeping and dense on  “Flower Jargon,” which stretches past the four minute mark. For reasons unknown, catchy “Fare Thee Well” is not the last song, which instead is the relatively epic “Carry-On,” which despite its unnecessary repetitiveness works for me. This is an excellent Kindercore release.

The Best Thing About This Album

“That’s Why”

Release Date

February, 2002

The Cover Art

Ealom once again had a hand in designing the cover art. This looks like a protest sign at a pro-choice rally, which I guess we didn’t hold enough of because it appears that forced-birth is going to be the way this country chooses to go. Well. In any event, if I am being generous, this brings in elements of pop art and abstract art, and it’s fine, but it doesn’t move me. Also, never vote Republican.

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