In anticipation of its full-length debut next spring, the Oregon-based pop group Dresses has released a breezy nine-track EP aptly titled Sun Shy. While not anything groundbreaking, the lively instrumentation, playful lyrics and duets make for a lighthearted release suitable for beautiful fall days.
The EP starts out strong with songs like “Back to Life,” a blissful foot-tapping opener complete with harmonizing scats in the chorus. The similarly amusing “Blew My Mind” employs shaking tambourines and vocalist Timothy Heller’s smokier singing for another highlight.
As the record continues, some of the tracks falter more than others. The chorus of “Sun Shy” is catchy at first, but quickly grows tiresome — Dresses still hasn’t completely found when to tone itself down in its poppier songs. “Sticks & Stones,” however, features a barely noticeable electric guitar and Heller’s emotionally bare lyrics that all come together for a moving finish to the EP.
Some of the songs in the middle seem to be influenced by country and folk and the results are inconsistent. “Friends Are Dead” finds the band slowing everything down for a subdued look at broken relationships. The change in direction works here, but struggles in “Gotta Love,” an awkward duet with subpar lyrics.
Dresses doesn’t bring anything new to the table besides a couple of pleasantly cheerful tracks and relatable lyrics that tackle youthful exuberance. Heller’s voice and some of the more muted tracks bode well for the band, but Sun Shy bears too much similarity to the bubbly work of modern indie poppers.
— Mac Gushanas
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