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'Vitamin F'
(Southern Lord)

Phil Kane

phil kane

fontanelle vitamin f

Fontanelles are soft spots on a baby's head which, during birth, enable the bony plates of the skull to flex, allowing the child's head to pass through the birth canal. Vitamin F is effectively a group of fatty acids called Essential Fatty Acids. Exactly what the significance is of these two facts here is lost for the time being and there is a strong suspicion that this lot are perhaps a bit too clever for their own good.

It is a suspicion that will prove correct because Fontanelle plays a kind of tripped out improvised progressive rock fusion that flirts with the hypnotic. Imagine any of Frank Zappa and The Mothers, Miles Davis, Jeff Beck, Metallica and Billy Cobham on the same stage as an ensemble from the days of classic Kraut rock and 'Vitamin F' is probably what the resulting jazzed up cacophony would sound like. Hell, you might even find Mahavishnu Orchestra and Edgar Winter skulking around somewhere too.

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The album seems to be marketed at the jazz fusion buffs. Very experimental, it does sound jazzy as hell but in a Tommy Bolin 'Private Eyes' sort of way. Of course, being the clever people that they are, Fontanelle takes the idea and runs with it so far out of the leftfield as to practically be out of sight, man.

This is head bending stuff that is not afraid to let you know it is a lot cleverer than you are. Yet, clever fuckers though the Fontanelle crew may be, 'Vitamin F' is a quite magnificent 'out there' album.

Why? I'll tell you. It does not matter what the band do, whether its Kraut rock electronica or sax improv or even a bit of funk rock, they never loses the groove. The music roams and wanders, exploring long forgotten dusty and dark nooks and crannies of sixties inspired psychedelia but it never needs reigning in.

And to prove the point, we have the truly stupendous 'Traumaturge'. Slap bang in the middle of the album; basically a blues workout it sounds like it could go on for hours as a live jam. In fact, if left to its own devices, this album, live, would probably last more than two days.

Other tracks of note? They are all tripped out specimens of experimental avant garde rock that is easy enough for any farty to get into and just get lost in; the layers of warm sound envelope them in their otherwise mundane and pointless little lives. There is a lot of this sort experimental stuff that is useless purely because it insists on setting the listener a challenge that is almost impossible to overcome. Even at its most funky, such as 'The Adjacent Possible', its silky groove pulls you along for the ride and the added grit of 'Ataxia' and 'When The Fire Hits The Forrest' with its spaced out electronic embellishments add depth rather than the expected jolt.

The album offers a similar experience to walking down a swanky street with all its high class restaurants and expensive night clubs but turn off that street and you find yourself in a completely different world of sex shops and drinking dens yet both worlds are comfortable for you. This is what 'Vitamin F' is like.

'Vitamin F' is the sort of album really hip cool types would have playing as they watched obscure b/w French art house movies with the soundtrack muted, tripping out of their beret bedecked bonces. Yep, it is very pretentious, so much so in fact that you can smell the gallouise but when it is this good, who gives a fuck?

Y'all might be thinking this is all psychedelic sax driven nonsense and you'd be wrong. Oh, it's not going to cater for the tastes of everyone but you can still listen to this while you iron the clothes watching the drizzle fall outside your window. In fact, it is a hell of an album to have on while you just drive, preferable on a motorway, as your mind wonders where ever it wants.

Fontanelle's first recording in nearly a decade; 'Vitamin F' is superb. It's not going to get the blood of every Metal head boiling (except in rage perhaps) but for those who are not afraid to ditch the frenetics of hard rock and Metal for a little fuzzed out horn driven funk, real late night jazz and psychedelic blues this album will be an excellent way to help your mind drift off to a world of its chosing.

So set the lights down low, pour yourself the biggest fucking whisky you've seen all week and let 'Vitamin F' prove what a great antedote to the stress fest and twat show of everyday life it can do.





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