Bettie Serveert Attagirl

Forget anything you know about the scrappy Dutch band you first heard on Matador ten years ago. These days Bettie Serveert have turned down the electric guitars considerably and replaced them with keyboards and a greater reliance on groove. That’s not to undermine guitarist Peter Visser’s contributions, however, whose Sterling Morrison/J Mascis hybrid still shows why he’s the most underrated guitarist in the last decade of indie rock. But the star here is still vocalist Carol Van Dyk, whose deceptive drawl is equally compelling over the slinky bass-and-marimba-driven pop of the title track, the spare acoustic "You’ve Changed,” or the Europop sheen of the James Bond-esque "Versace,” which sounds like nothing else the band has ever attempted. The only misstep here is a completely faithful cover of Bright Eyes’ "Lover I Don’t Have to Love,” which isn’t unpleasant but is highly unnecessary. That’s quickly redeemed by the album’s closing tracks, two drastically different acoustic demos of the opening numbers. None of this will be a surprise for those who heard 2001’s phenomenal Private Suit, but it’s high time everyone else gave this band a second shot. (Minty Fresh)