Bettie Serves – Palomine | Alternative
Palomine, Bettie Serveert’s legendary debut album, turns 30 and gets a well-deserved reissue this year. As part of the Revisionist History Series by Matador, the disc will be released on June 23 of this year on translucent orange vinyl, accompanied by the brain label 7 inch single which also came with the original pressing at the time. A good reason for a Bettie Serveert special this spring. A special in which all the albums of the group, and of its predecessor De Artsen, will pass one by one.
Bettie Serveert’s debut album, Palomine, consistently appears in lists of the best Dutch pop albums of all time. A great success for a record that was released with complete freedom and without a preconceived plan, more than thirty years ago.
There weren’t many interesting and successful guitar bands in the Netherlands in the early 90s. Fatal Flowers had already had their heyday and the Serenes were very good but didn’t really break through despite the justly good reviews. The same goes for Blue Guitars and Hallo Venray, although the latter performed at Pinkpop. Bettie Serveert was seen in 1992, 1993 as something fresh, something new: a fun, loose but also powerful and pop guitar band that didn’t hail from America or Britain for once.
In a small circle, the band members were already known for their predecessor De Artsen, the idiosyncratic guitar band from Arnhem which achieved some success in the second half of the 80s and thus set the development of the then embryonic Bettie Serveert on the back. burner. With Peter Visser (guitar) and Herman Bunskoeke (bass) in the ranks, Carol van Dyk as sound engineer and Berend Dubbe as roadie, the capricious Doctors toured the country in the late eighties. their album Conny waves with a seashella record full of stimulating rock guitar (Eastcoast) was undoubtedly one of the best Dutch records of 1989.
However, the doctors gave up and Bettie Serveert was revived by the aforementioned foursome. The relevant young label Matador from the USA had already heard of De Artsen. When Matador got their hands on a Bettie Serveert demo in January 1992, a small delegation from the label traveled to the Netherlands to meet the band. This resulted in a deal which also meant that Bettie Serveert’s music would be released by Matador in the US and 4AD sub-label Guernica in Britain. It was a wonderful experience for the group members. They weren’t really into touring across the border, but with Matador it was pretty close.
Palomine was released in 1992. In the Netherlands, Brinkman, the label of record store De Waaghals from Arnhem, released the album. The bachelor is tom boy, a pleasantly rattling track full of soulful melodies and dynamics. It’s Carol van Dyk’s honest and fine voice that definitely attracts skeptics. Matador later wrote, “There’s no way Carol’s voice won’t turn you into a simmering pile of mush.”
Palomine turns out to be full of such nuggets, raw and captivating songs that move and then incite the guitar tune. Production is no frills; all the instruments are honored in all their roughness.
All is well for the children also comes out single. A sacred indie rocker who forever engraves the unique sound of the group (and in particular the transversal style of Peter Visser) in the memories. As tom boy this single is also doing well in the Netherlands. However, especially in the United States where college stations Embracing Bettie Serveert, the band finally breaks through. All is well for the children can also be found on the film’s soundtrack Between friendsalongside tracks from Mick Jones, Lemonheads and Pharcyde.
Palomine has much more to offer. The title track, also a single, is both light and melancholy. The song’s mid-stage acceleration is surprising but works well. Beneath the surface is similar but mixes roughness with an almost obvious chorus. This thing nowhere sometimes blows the Doctors. healthy sick is a cover of Sebadoh, a band that was only known to a few at the time. Pieces like brain label And balentine each covers a completely separate side of Bettie’s indie rock spectrum: from subcutaneous tension to leaping through the air – with strident guitar, of course. Above all balentine will become a live favorite.
Palomine completely upsets the life of the group. In the Netherlands, the album will be sold 40,000 times. Today an unimaginable number for a non-commercial guitar record. In 1993, Bettie Serveert played Pinkpop. It goes very fast. But in the meantime, the bear is also loose in the United States. Since tom boy came out, there has already been a demand for the group. The band had already played New Music Seminar in 1992 thanks to Matador and the two singles fueled interest again in 1993. Palomine seems to sell much better in America than in Europe. The counter will eventually reach 200,000 copies. During this period, Bettie Serveert shares the stage with groups such as Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr, Belly and Superchunk.
Within a year, Bettie Serveert had established themselves among indie rock aficionados on both sides of the ocean, and the quartet flew to major festivals like Pinkpop (1993) and Roskilde (1994). No one expected the band’s studio sessions in 1991, 1992 to ultimately have such an effect. Palomine, it remains a unique story in the history of Dutch pop. It remains a special record.
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