Bettie Serveert

Bettie Serveert

Log 22

Palomine / Hidden Agenda

The Dutch seem to take droll pleasure in speaking flawless English and refining Anglo music forms. Carving out a special space in pop from Holland for well over a decade is Bettie Serveert (literally “Bettie Serves” after an instructional book by tennis champ Betty Stöve), whose unique blend of seductive vocals, bespectacled lyrics, and unexpected guitar rock is nothing short of the archetype all rock/pop bands should shoot for. Carol Van Dijk’s vocals — clear, cool and uncomplicated like a nightstand glass of water — and the inventive and consistently flawless music from the band exist happily together, bound by some of the sharpest songwriting you’re likely to hear. The band rocks and does so honestly, never attempting to overplay or underplay their songs for effect. While many “back to roots” acts these days are contriving to dumb down their sound, Bettie Serveert carefully crafts each track for the simple pleasure of doing it right.

Take for example “Captain of Maybe.” Slow and steady, with muted keening keyboards in the background serving as seagulls, the song is part sea shanty and part power ballad, with Van Dijk’s vocals perfectly capturing the ambivalence and potential spoken of in the lyric. In contrast, “Smack” is a brief playful rocker, whose loose-limbed groove has a nice musical slap that responds each time the word “smack” appears and whose chorus tosses in chirpy electronic freakouts. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Bettie Serveert album without a wink and nod to the Velvet Underground. This time around it’s “White Dogs,” echoing VU in their Loaded period several times in its epic eight-minute length from its strummy acoustics playing a two chord figure to its buildup and opening of the floodgates.

Those familiar with the band will find that little has changed here. Log 22 is a collection of apparently simple songs whose catchiness is quickly overtaken by the many quirks and details the band puts into their music. Bettie Serveert’s output dwarfs — in both quantity and quality — the work of similar, better-known acts like Garbage and Elastica. If strong female-fronted alternative rock is your gig and you haven’t done so already, you owe it to yourself to tap Bettie Serveert’s vein. You’ll be sure to strike gold just about anywhere you strike, and Log 22 is an excellent place to start.

Parasol: http://www.parasol.com • Bettie Serveert: http://www.bettieserveert.com/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Jacqueline Kerrod
    Jacqueline Kerrod

    17 Days in December (Orenda Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Pokey Lafarge
    Pokey Lafarge

    In The Blossom Of Their Shade (New West Records). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • Best of Film 2021
    Best of Film 2021

    Lily and Generoso select and review their ten favorite features, seven supplemental films, and two prized repertory releases of 2021.

  • I Saw A Dozen Faces…
    I Saw A Dozen Faces…

    From The Windbreakers to Bark, Tim Lee is a trooper in the rock and roll trenches…and he’s lived to tell it all in his new memoir.

  • The Lyons
    The Lyons

    A man on his deathbed is surrounded by bickering family members, many of which you would strangle him given the chance. In other words: a brilliant comedy!

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

From the Archives