This Dutch group first piqued American interest back in the early '90s with its punch-drunk debut, Palomine, and a couple of almost-as-good follow-ups. At the time, shaggy-haired indie-rock guys couldn't believe their luck: Here was a band that offered the unhinged guitar squall they needed to feel secure and also had a good-looking blond frontwoman, Carol van Dyk. For countless Pavement and Sebadoh fans, Bettie Serveert was proof that their world wasn't as small as they often feared.
These days, van Dyk and her bandmates are still proving as much: Their last several albums have seen them deepening their sweetly sloppy guitar-pop, looking beyond the Velvet Underground for inspiration (but not before releasing Bettie Serveert Plays Venus in Furs and Other Velvet Underground Songs, a live covers disc). On Serveert's latest, Attagirl, the band's seventh full-length, they dabble in polite disco-rock, streamlined Krautrock, live-band trip-hop, even mysterious film-noir surf-pop balladry. With its stylistic range and van Dyk's smart, sexy, sophisticated-lady performance, the album plays like a slightly more mature version of More Adventurous by L.A.'s Rilo Kiley, whose Jenny Lewis might've heard something of herself in Palomine. That's Bettie Serveert: out adventuring, so you don't have to.