It was so easy with the first wave of bands to come out of the Elephant 6 Collective. You simply matched the Beatles album being ripped off with the other obvious influence. For example, the Apples in Stereo were Revolver meets the Beach Boys, whereas Olivia Tremor Control was more Magical Mystery Tour meets Pink Floyd. As more and more '60s-worshiping pop bands sprang from Elephant 6's dual headquarters in Denver and Athens, Ga., though, the influences gradually became more jumbled and less obvious, resulting in something of an Elephant 6 "sound" indebted to the '60s as a whole. The four members of Denver-based Dressy Bessy wholly embrace these clean pop sounds on the five-song California EP, their latest release on Athens-based kindercore records. Guitarists John Hill and Tammy Ealom maintain a pleasant jangle, letting bassist Ron Greene's Paul McCartney-ish lines propel the songs. Drummer Darren Albert stays peppy and upbeat, abetted by handclaps, shakers and all manner of other percussion, and keyboards pop up to add a nice touch on several songs. Add full harmonies and background vocals, and you've got a textbook example of the Elephant 6 formula.
This is not to say Dressy Bessy lack anything to set them apart from their peers. On "Some Better Days", for example, the band sounds more '80s new wave than '60s surf wave, and "In the Morning" sounds like a drunken circus march. The band's ace in the hole is Ealom's vocals. Pretty but not too pretty, a little flat but never too flat, her voice has an indefinable coolness to it similar to Kim Deal's vocals with the Breeders. With songwriting smarts, strong playing and a flourishing scene to grow in, expect to hear more from Dressy Bessy. Judging from The California EP, you can expect good things.
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