The core of Fontanelle consists of ex-members of Seattle dream poppers Jessamine. Though most dream pop acts mutate into more earth-bound trad rock terrain, Rex Ritter and Andy Brown have aimed further skyward. Through Fontanelle, they carry a more celestial approach. Krautrock is a familiar touchstone, and it's certainly a word that can be lobbed at them, but not too many indie/post-rockers probe deeper into the likes of Miles Davis' electric era as well. Though the ten-minute "Picture Start" vaguely echoes Can's "Pinch," the rest of Fontanelle's debut demonstrates that the Yanks aren't merely hooked on Teutonics. Traces of electric Miles (minus his trumpet) burble up frequently, along with indie guitar noodling aplenty. "Niagara" is built around hypnotic guitar and electric piano lines, sustained by gentle hi-hat washes. "The Telephone Fade" has enough instrument drop-outs and drop-ins to keep it interesting, with economic guitar interplay between guitarists Ritter and Charlie Smyth. "29th & Going" and "Counterweight" share flashes and blares of '70s funk without being obvious; you could paste the tracks into episodes of The Rockford Files or most blaxploitation flicks and not be found out. Most impressive is the group's sense of economy and subtlety. They might not be as accomplished as their influences, but they're pretty convincing. The spirit and the reverence is there, and they've certainly studied up. It might initially seem like an awkward concept -- lads with their background normally drift into their Zombies, Byrds, and Beatles records. The knack of creating climactic rushes might be stripped away, but dream pop and jazz share an affinity for mood. That's something Fontanelle has loads of. So is it a substitute for the original articles? Of course not, but it's no "Jazz Odyssey," either.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman