There's a weird, discombobulating quality to Lamprey, from Dutch rockers Bettie Serveert. Taken discretely, the record is impressive: singer Carol van Dijk has a supple, soaring voice, the band seems to have an enviable control of dynamics, and its slightly off-kilter command of English produces some felicitous wordplay. The discombobulating aspect is that this is the band's second album; its first, Palomine, was all that and a lot more: the songs were simply killer, the dynamic shifts tore your head off, and the album's silky production was a low-budget, irresistible charmer. In other words, Lamprey represents a step backward rather than forward for the band. Fans of Palomine who obsessively pick over Lamprey for hints of progress amid the dross will find a few surprises: the delectable melody of "Ray Ray Rain," the almost folkie lyrical repeats in "21 Days." But they'll also find that there's not much beneath the defiant surface of van Dijk's lyrics and that a few songs, notably the excruciatingly literal "Something So Wild," about a woman you just can't put chains on, offer little reward for the diligence. Thursday, March 30, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Steve Gullick.