BABES IN TOYLAND "Fontanelle"
Warner Bros . * * * 1/2 If the revolution won't be televised, at least it's available now on CD and cassette, half an hour of purest female anger, an articulate howl of rage that's just as shocking the 10th time you listen to it as it is the first.
This may be the rawest performance ever released by a major label, and also one of the most necessary.
"Fontanelle" hurts: power grrrl-trio noise, screech and moan, shards of dissonant guitar honed razor-sharp by ubiquitous "alternative" producer Butch Vig (Nirvana, L7, Sonic Youth), traditional girl-pop structures ripped open and flayed till they ooze. Call Babes leader Kat Bjelland the Anti-Bangle.
Quiet, pretty passages are basically designed to make the harsh stuff grate even more; Bjelland's vocals scat from little-girl wispiness to full-throated screams. Lyrics are salted with the kind of aggressive female crotch-talk that may appear frequently in gangsta rap and the grungier sorts of alternative rock, but that means something quite different when turned back on itself. If Babes didn't make you cringe, they wouldn't be doing their job.