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Bettie Serveert
ATTAGIRL
(Minty Fresh)

"Youíve changed, and so have I," Carol van Dyk sings, duskily but resolute, to an old flame on Bettie Serveertís sixth album. Or perhaps itís an olive branch extended toward all those who, as disheveled undergrads, hailed the slanted guitars and enchanted melodies of the Dutch comboís 1992 debut, Palomine, as classics of the Matador Age, then felt betrayed by the bandís subsequent efforts to smooth out the rough edges. After all, they must understand by now, everyone needs to tidy up a bit as the years progress. Recorded mainly in guitarist Peter Visserís living room, but sounding far more polished than that set-up would suggest, Attagirl is fun designed for grown-ups, more the sound of shopping and lounging excursions in Soho London and SoHo New York than nights spent on ripped booths in grubby college bars. The opening "Dreamaniacs" tumbles in with twinkly electronics and elegant strums, then settles into a breezy, string-laden, Saint EtienneĖlike groove; "Versace" is ultra-refined electro-espionage music on the Goldfrapp tip; and Bright Eyesí "Lover I Donít Have To Love" gets a torchy read via Van Dykís Chrissie-Hynde-meets-Nina-Persson vocals. Actual jagged guitar lines sprout up in "Donít Touch That Dial!" and "Hands Off," but those churning ghosts of Serveert past are quickly exorcised in favor of cleaner rock forms.

(Bettie Serveert perform this Saturday, March 12, at T.T. the Bearís Place, 10 Brookline Street in Central Square; call 617-492-BEAR.)

BY MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG


Issue Date: March 11 - 17, 2005
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