The beguiling mix of Carol van Dijk's casually mercurial vocals and her band's effervescent guitar-based grooves caught the attention of plenty of ears when Bettie Serveert released its 1992 debut, Palomine. But the Dutch quartet wanted more ears, and on the follow-up, Lamprey, palpably tried harder to find them; the strained search took Bettie Serveert too far from the course that had led to its initial success. Thankfully, with the recent Dust Bunnies (Matador/Capitol), the group has revived the looser, more airy charms of its debut. It ain't perfect: sometimes van Dijk's vocal shortcomings trip her up (hear the flubbed notes she hits on "Sugar the Pill"), and guitarist Peter Visser still exhibits an unfortunate penchant for misplaced hard-rock bombast (on "Musher"). Yet at its best the new record nicely balances an effortless, winning melodicism with easygoing guitar grit. It's not gonna change the world or your socks, but it's something pleasant to hum while you think about either. The equally hummable Polara and local chanteuse Edith Frost open. Wednesday, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Bettie Serveert by Bobby Talamine-RSP.