Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bettie Serveert: Log 22 [Palomine, 2003]
A bigger and looser band than the one that made its name with Palomine in alt's salad days--brawnier, brainier, sweeter, more direct. But where once they were the future, now they're near forgotten, because what for their admirers was a game, a phase, or a fleeting passion, for Carol Van Dyk is a life. Alt's college cheerleaders have matured. Van Dyk's just gotten older, embracing soul and skill but not the mainstream: "Smack in the middle of ridiculous places, smack in the middle where I shouldn't have been." Of course, part of their gimmick was how alt they weren't. They've always gravitated toward straightforward tunes and guitar voicings, which is why horns that would obtrude in any ordinary alt-fledged band seem natural horning in here. So please, somebody make me feel stupid and tell me what '60s solo they quote outright on the eight-minute "White Dogs" jam. It's driving me crazy. A-