Review Summary: A musical riot (Grrl)
Babes In Toyland is part of the Riot Grrl scene that came out of the Alternative Rock and Grunge era of the early 90's, the group consists entirely of girls. Girls that rock! Well its happened before and seriously, they do a pretty good job, even getting some airplay on MTV with the song Bruise Violet which appeared in Beavis and Butthead at one point.
What we have is a thick slab of beefed up riffs dripping with grungey goodness in the saucy guitar tones and some awesome singing from lead singer Kat Bjelland who has a snarling, aggressive voice which carries across a vision of a very "dominant female". She's quite attractive. The drumming isn't particularly noteworthy, and the bass playing isn't that great but the best thing about Fontanelle is that this group makes use of simple songwriting to create effective music. This less is more approach benefited entire genres of music, so why not here? It's works excellently.
Most of the lyrics of this album seem to deal with jilted love, female jealousy etc but the overall tone of the album is pretty cool it's some good grunge music: just with a female touch. Bruise Violet open the albums, exceptionally catchy with a metalesque sound to it that was popular enough to appear on MTV (which I mentioned), Right Now starts with tom rolls and has a pretty punk intro, Bluebell a similar sound but a lot better then Right Now. Handsome And Gretel is perhaps my favourite song off the album, with a great riff and a snarling vocal from Kat, (Handsome... Gretel... HANDSOME... GRETEL!!!!!!!) it's damn catchy and one of my favourites. Blood is another punky track (actually a few of these songs are quite punky, so i'll list all the punky ones: Short Song, Pearl, Mother). Magick Flute has a dark intro, it's quite angry and brooding I like it. Won't Tell, and Quiet Room have acoustic influences, but still resort to the "Grunge". Most of the rest of the other songs sound pretty much the same as everything else but they are all good in their own way. Pearl and Real Eyes are the best of the rest.
This doesn't have much in the way of variety, but since it's a good sound it doesn't matter. Fontanelle is an excellent slice of Riot Grrl, or just plain grunge if you think that tag is silly. The riffs are juicy, the singer has an awesome voice and the songwriting is excellent. Whilst the musicianship may be somewhat slight it doesn't matter, this group is all about attitude and they have it in spades. Check it out.