Release Date: Feb 5, 2013
Record label: Second Motion Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Like Wire, Bettie Serveert are only getting fiercer with age. The 50-something Dutch rockers, who found college-radio indie fame in the 90s, make a surprise return with an album big on catchy melodies and tough lyrics delivered forcefully by Carol van Dijk. Her strong voice (think Kim Deal or Liz Phair) remains the focal point, though wild guitars and thunderous drumming give it the foundation it needs to soar.
Even the most loyal fans of the Dutch indie rockers Bettie Serveert would be forgiven for thinking that the band's fire might have dimmed somewhat after over 20 years together as a band. Prepare to be surprised when you put on the first track of their 2013 album Oh, Mayhem! On "Shake-Her," Carol van Dijk and Peter Visser's guitars sound like twin charges of dynamite, van Dijk practically spits out the vocals, and the rhythm section pounds along with little or no restraint, and they sound like a bunch of 19-year-olds instead of the indie lifers they undoubtedly are. The entire album is packed with similarly fiery, heart-twisting rockers that have a rousing power guaranteed to shake lose any cobwebs.
Bettie Serveert have steadily been releasing albums since 1992’s Palomine but have never gotten their chance to really shine, unless you count a few cover songs showing up in various network shows and indie movies. Perhaps it’s enough that a Dutch indie rock band could make an international ripple, no matter how small. Bettie Serveert are better than most indie rock bands of any nationality, however, and their tenth release, Oh, Mayhem!, is more energetic and surprising than indie rock releases by many bands half lead singer Carol Van Dijk’s age.
The problem with a band as consistent as Bettie Serveert is that their albums start to blend together. It isn't that they all sound the same, although there's no doubt that Carol van Dijk's vocals are a unifying factor, but it's hard not to dismiss Oh Mayhem as just another Bettie Serveert release. It most likely won't bring them large numbers of new fans, but existing ones will be more than satisfied.