Dusted Reviews

Fontanelle - Style Drift

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Fontanelle

Album: Style Drift

Label: Kranky

Review date: Nov. 20, 2002

Hurky Jurky

After the dissolution of their band Jessamine, Rex Ritter and Andy Brown formed Fontanelle as a platform to pursue a spacey, jam-based sound that incorporated psychedelic, kraut and post-rock influences. Their self-titled debut released in 2000 and their follow-up album F, (released a little over a year later and culled from the same studio sessions that produced their first album) were dark and moody attempts at blending improvisatory jazz settings with the most oblique lean against post-rock’s instrumental borders. The results were sporadic: Dull, anxiety producing, occasionally moving. Fontanelle seemed unable to negotiate the void between the impromptu and the designed. Sounds, at first interesting, eventually faded into the dry and tedious stalemate between born-of-the-moment surprise and overly-pursued ideas.

Style Drift, Fontanelle’s third and newest release, strikes an immediate healthier balance. With a clearer and more distinct purpose, Style Drift manages to overcome the stagnating forces that weighed down their previous efforts. For the most part, the songs’ rhythms still ruminate in a hazy, ambient fog, but the emphasis is shifted from the analog to the digital domain – the songs sway with an inebriated IDM swagger rather than their usual jazz shuffle. As evidenced by the eerie, phased out, digital wash that begins the album’s opener ‘Interstices,’ electronic experimentation assumes a greater role on Style Drift. Every note is disguised as a sound effect, giving the album a twitchier, more erratic, anything-can-happen vibe.

The keyboards and guitars become entwined in this volatile mix, making for an ambiguous marriage. The drums (the one cohesive element throughout) bang out mysteriously powerful breaks; though, at times, they’re a little too present, a little too straight forward. They sound better treated, chopped, reassigned to the foreground as they are on ”James Going” and “Monday Morning.”

Fontanelle’s ”grooves” rarely survive past four bars and any momentum is almost always squelched by an abrupt and unsuspected rhythmic jerk. As soon as you begin to bob your head in time, they pull back on the reigns, making clear to you that their music – as much as it may bop – is still designed to seep through your body by way of your brain.

If Fontanelle fail at all, it’s in the realm of mind and body. Their music taunts one and incites the other to great degrees of indifference. Style Drift is pleasing enough but on the whole, it fails to etch its shuttering rhythms anywhere beyond the busy halls of my temporary memory storage.

By John Yandrasits

Read More

View all articles by John Yandrasits

Find out more about Kranky

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.