Bettie Serveert Pharmacy Of Love

Bettie Serveert Pharmacy Of Love
Despite a few little missteps along the way, Dutch band Bettie Serveert have been a remarkably reliable band during their 20 years together. They might have moved along from their Neil Young-influenced debut into inevitable more mature albums, but they've always done it with enthusiasm and some satisfying results. The anchor of the band has always been Carol van Dyk, whose vocals are warm, welcoming and cut right through the music no matter how loud the guitars. Pharmacy Of Love, album number nine, is somehow both a step forward and a step back. With the focus reverting to that simpler combination of van Dyk's voice and Peter Visser's guitar, the songs are reminiscent of their earlier albums, but now possess urgency, and the band are writing pop songs heavy with hooks and melody. And that's a pretty irresistible combination. Unfortunately, they aren't content to simply wallow in all that pop goodness and the second half of the album doesn't keep the momentum going, especially the drawn-out "Calling," which at nine-and-a-half minutes could use some serious editing. But for the most part, Pharmacy Of Love is a return to form for a band that have never disappointed. (Second Motion)