Ah, Sweden; land of gorgeous women with gorgeous voices. Think I'm lying? Then take a stroll back through memory lane, and recall such vocal vixens as Nina Persson of The Cardigans (as in The Cardigans), or the entirety of The Sahara Hotnights.
While striking physical beauty abounds, it's the undeniable attractiveness of Sweden's deliberately sugar-coated pop music that keeps us addicted like caffeine-freaks to whatever tasty morsel of sonorous goodness it is that comes bouncing out of the country these days.
Cue Bettie Serveert, the indie pop vets you've never heard of (or maybe you have).
The group entered the music scene with 1992's Palomine, and in the years that followed released a fairly sizable collection of head-bopping goodness. What's great about Bettie & Co. is their undeniable knack for keeping things fresh -- between 1992's Palomine and 2004's Attagirl, the band (led by front-woman Carol van Dyk) had rearranged their edgy guitar pop formula several times.
Which brings us to Bare Stripped Naked. Released in 1996 on Minty Fresh Records, Bettie Serveert's latest offering is less edge and more... well, pop. Take either version of "Hell = Other People." The original version is soft, flowing, and wrought with piano-y goodness. Bettie's take on that version is more sullen than it is on the album's later version, where she is accompanied by a college rock chorus and tongue-in-cheek guitars. She switches between the two blithely, and it works.
And that aptly sums up the remainder of the album -- it works. Bettie Serveert covers the entirety of the indie pop spectrum in one album; from violin confessionals on "Roadmovies," to gypsy crooning on "Painted Word," the Serveert gang put out one hell of a record, with each track dressed in all the fineries of indie instrumentation, and all the beauty the Swedes can muster.
For more information, please check out the band's official website. For a cover of Bright Eyes' "Lover I Don't Have to Love," go directly to their Myspace.