Bettie Serveert Bare Stripped Naked

Carol Van Dijk’s Dutch drawl melts me every time, whether she’s singing Velvet Underground covers, raging over a recreation of her band’s grungy beginnings, or reinventing herself as a Euro pop/indie rock hybrid. On this album, she and guitarist Peter Visser unplug and chill out for a set of largely acoustic material, and thankfully the setting compensates for some of the material, which doesn’t quite live up to the gold standard of their late-period gems, 2001’s Private Suit and last year’s Attagirl. But there’s no question that Van Dijk is at her best these days when she’s surrounded by space to breathe; most of these songs wouldn’t benefit from any more instrumental crowding. The accompanying DVD features a 40-minute live set from the full band, featuring them in full-on unapologetic adult mode and nary a note of feedback to be heard, including a banjo/Wurlitzer reworking of "Tom Boy” and an all-acoustic "Kid’s Allright.” (ed note: sic) There’s also an entirely frivolous featurette focusing on the band in the studio, which unless you enjoy watching Van Dijk lounge about in the studio’s kitchen — wait, actually, maybe there is a definite voyeuristic appeal to observing one of the most inherently cool and gorgeous women in rock’n’roll doing absolutely nothing at all. (Palomine/Minty Fresh)