Bettie Serveert – [Album]

Thursday, 01 April 2010

Thirteen years ago, Bettie Serveert reigned supreme over the subway that runs beneath the underground. How'd they pull it off? By playing hard-to-get with both fans and the music industry at large; they only toured sporadically in any given region, they released albums on their whim and the band was generally shy with the press. In the modern music industry where image means a lot and the single easiest way to promote your new record is to say something foolish to a journalist or be photographed in some compromising position, Bettie Serveert developed a following the old-fashioned way; with some really good songs and the sense to let people miss them.

That practice worked brilliantly in 1998 but, twelve years after Dust Bunnies came out and the band had begun to dedicate entire releases to the Velvet Underground, people had justifiably written Bettie Serveert off as the band's releases became spottier in quality and an already sporadic touring itinerary dwindled still further.

It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this time Bettie Serveert has seen to it that fans should rightly be excited about a new release from the band; Pharmacy Of Love is their first album in four years and their best in thirteen.

The passage of time fades completely away as Pharmacy Of Love opens with a fantastic and molten slab of power pop called “Deny All.” In that first song, singer Carol van Dyk reappears right back at the top of her game as she recaptures the innocent tone she sported on Dust Bunnies and Lamprey, even as she slurs the song's title in the chorus to resemble a repetition of the word “denial.” Placed among coarse guitars and hammered drums, the song instantly falls back into the old (and good) design: it's cute, it's sweet, it'll kick your ass as soon as look at you, it's Bettie Serveert in top form.

The band stays right at that pinnacle of their powers through the duration of the album too. Each song plays to the band's familiar formula (crunchy guitars and post-modern fatigued sticky sweet pop get thrown into a blender, and gold pours out in the end), but works every time; really, it doesn't need to vary much because somehow it also manages to sound tight, new and confident in spite of the band being out of shape for so long. Songs like “Love Lee,” “The Pharmacy,” “Mossie” and “What They Call Love” all come off as the alt-rock answer to the saccharine pop saturating current radio airwaves and it wins heart in the process because no one has tried to twist pop quite like this in years. With a result as strong as Pharmacy Of Love, it's good and relieving to see Bettie Serveert back so strongly; here's hoping they don't stay silent for so long ever again.



Pharmacy Of Love
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon or, for Canadian orders, go here to .

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