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Babes in Toyland's most focused and powerful statement, Fontanelle was vaguely associated with grunge upon its release, and tossed in with the Pacific Northwest-centered riot grrrl movement after the fact. In truth, it lies somewhere in between, its raw punkish fury and metallic grind making it the spiritual kin of L7. Fontanelle isn't necessarily explicitly feminist, since the glorious noise of rock & roll is viewed as the ultimate empowerment. And that noise is all over Fontanelle -- it's arguably the harshest, most abrasive recording to come out of any part of the riot grrrl camp. Like L7, Babes in Toyland are more about pure sound than songs, but the similarities end there. Instead of just grinding away on simple power chords, Kat Bjelland's distinctive guitar work is full of intentionally grating dissonance, which is complemented by the jittery rhythm section. Vocally, Bjelland can move from a faux little-girl coo to a bellowing snarl in the space of one line; put together, all of this imbues Fontanelle with a terrifically explosive tension. Fittingly, the closing track features nothing but Bjelland, her guitar, and the sound of breaking glass bottles. Measured by any standard, Fontanelle is a frighteningly primal record, one whose sheer ferocity Babes in Toyland never quite captured this convincingly anywhere else.
|Label:||Reprise / Wea|