Sarah Bettens

Scream

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The first U.S. solo release by Sarah Bettens, better known as the lead singer of Belgian alt-rockers K's Choice, Scream isn't far removed from Bettens' earlier releases, but it's less distinctive in a number of important ways. The title track kicks the record off with a glossy punch of polite power pop in the manner of Letters to Cleo or Juliana Hatfield and would have been an excellent addition to the K's Choice canon. Unfortunately, that's the most exciting song on the album by a good distance. Songs like "Stay," with its peculiarly retro blend of '80s-style synths on the "strings" setting and Lilith Fair-era acoustic guitar, and the white girl funk-pop of "Come Over Here" are a little more subdued than K's Choice tended to be, although Bettens' appealing voice keeps them afloat. Unfortunately, faceless tunes like "Go" and "Don't Stop" are as clich├ęd and unmemorable as their titles, and Greg Wells' unimaginative, slick production does little to help.

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