Fontanelle (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 11, 1992 (1992-08-11)
Babes in Toyland chronology
The Peel Sessions
Singles from Fontanelle
  1. "Handsome and Gretel"
    Released: 1991
  2. "Bruise Violet"
    Released: 1992

Fontanelle is the second studio album by the American punk rock band Babes in Toyland, released on August 11, 1992 by Reprise Records. It was the band's first release on a major label, and their first recording to feature Maureen Herman on bass.


After extensive touring throughout 1991, the band entered the studio to record their major label follow-up to their debut album, Spanking Machine. Bassist Michelle Leon left the group in December 1991, shortly before the recording of Fontanelle began, due to the death of her boyfriend, Joe Cole. Maureen Herman was recruited as her replacement.

The album was co-produced by frontwoman and guitarist Kat Bjelland with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth heading production.[2] Brian Paulson was also studio engineer and the final product was mixed by Dave Ogilvie. The cover photo — an image of a naked doll held up in front of a mirror — was taken for the album by photographer Cindy Sherman.

The band has explained the album's name as referring to the soft spot on the top of a baby's skull, as well as to a little fountain used by fairies. It is also the name of a magician consulted by Gilles de Rais, the real-life murderer who inspired the fairy tale "Bluebeard".[3]

The process of recording the album is described in the book Babes in Toyland: The Making and Selling of a Rock and Roll Band, by Neal Karlen.[4] Recording took place at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and at Sorcerer Sound Recording Studios in New York City.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[5]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[6]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[7]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[9]

Fontanelle is Babes in Toyland's most critically and commercially successful album, selling 220,000 copies approximately in the United States alone. Reviews of the album were very positive, with Steve Huey from AllMusic noting:

Measured by any standard, Fontanelle is a frighteningly primal record, one whose sheer ferocity Babes in Toyland never quite captured this convincingly anywhere else.

The album's success also prompted them to tour more and were eventually offered a place on the Lollapalooza tour in 1993,[11] playing alongside such acts as Tool, Primus, Alice in Chains, Dinosaur Jr. and Rage Against the Machine. During dates at Lollapalooza, the band released their third and final EP, Painkillers, in June 1993, which consisted of a re-recording of one of their most notable songs "He's My Thing", and outtakes from Fontanelle.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Kat Bjelland unless otherwise noted.

1."Bruise Violet" 2:52
2."Right Now" 2:19
3."Bluebell" 2:22
4."Handsome and Gretel" 1:50
5."Blood" 2:44
6."Magick Flute"Lori Barbero3:02
7."Won't Tell" 2:27
8."Quiet Room" 2:59
9."Spun"Bjelland, Barbero3:03
10."Short Song" 0:41
11."Jungle Train"Bjelland, Barbero2:15
12."Pearl"Bjelland, Barbero, Michelle Leon1:56
13."Real Eyes" 2:51
14."Mother" 3:13
15."Gone" 2:28
Total length:37:09


All personnel credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[12]

Babes in Toyland
Technical personnel
Design personnel

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
UK Albums Chart[13] 24


  1. ^ Earles, Andrew (March 31, 2015). "The Revival of Cherubs". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  2. ^ Taylor, Steve. A to X of Alternative Music. Continuum International Publishing Group. 2006.
  3. ^ "Gilles de Rais alias Blue Beard". 2007-02-26. Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  4. ^ "News Review: Babes in Toyland: The Making and Selling of a Rock and Roll Band –". Entertainment Weekly. August 12, 1994.
  5. ^ Huey, Steve. "Fontanelle – Babes in Toyland". AllMusic. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  6. ^ Herrmann, Brenda (October 22, 1992). "Babes in Toyland: Fontanelle (Reprise)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Berger, Arion (August 28, 1992). "Fontanelle". Entertainment Weekly: 66. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  8. ^ Gold, Jonathan (August 30, 1992). "Anger From the Anti-Bangles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Abowitz, Richard (2004). "Babes in Toyland". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 32. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Perry, Andrew (September 1992). "Babes in Toyland: Fontanelle". Select (27): 82.
  11. ^ "Dispatches Latter-Day Grunge". Time. 1993-07-12. Archived from the original on November 2, 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  12. ^ Fontanelle (CD). Babes in Toyland. Reprise Records. 1992. LC 0322.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  13. ^ "Babes in Toyland | Artist | Official Charts". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 25, 2012.

External links[edit]