Bettie Serveert - Damaged Good

by Jason Atkinson Rating:8 Release Date:2017-04-22

Bettie Serveert! I’m a fan. I bought “Palomine” on tape many years ago because of the cover. I also thought they were covering Sebadoh’s “Healthy Sick,” but they weren’t. It didn’t matter much though, because their “Healthy Sick” was good, too.

What can I say? This is a badass bunch of rock songs—catchy choruses, memorable riffs. Indeed, Bettie Serveert knows how to serve up an album, in the best sense of the word. There is a sense of unification here, something this reviewer hears less and less of no thanks to our singles-driven marketplace. Listening to all the tracks back-to-back, I even felt motivated to call a babysitter for my two-year-old, find a place where Bettie Serveert is performing, and watch them while simultaneously lamenting the fact that I am old and will die soon.

Serveert has a unique voice. You might like it, or it might not be your thing. One thing is undeniable: there is an emotional range. There is confidence, plenty of that. But there is also the occasional waver and vulnerability, in particular on the album’s opener, “B-Cuz.”

After that, though, most of the album is the powerhouse vocal chops: the bluesy (but short) “Brick Wall,” the surf-rock tinged “Brother (In Loins),” the Lady Gaga swagger of “Damaged Good.” Things relax a bit for “Whatever Happens” and get pop for “Insane.”

“Digital Sin (Nr 7)” shows creative guitar work with an unusual introduction. “Love Sick,” by far the strongest song on the album, would do well to be pushed forward as the album’s centrepiece. The slight influence of Aimee Mann can be heard on “Mrs K.”

I loved “Never Be Over.” Epic. Great song. The lyrics “shame on me, for kissing you with my eyes” remind me of so many occasions when there is a chemistry between two people but, for whatever reason, those kisses and that love can’t be realised. It’s good to hear, especially after twenty-five years, that “Damaged Good” was, in fact, realised. And may Bettie Serveert continue to realise themselves, too, now and forever.

Go forth. Download legally.

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