Let’s address the obvious first: Glockenspiel does not feature a glockenspiel. A drunk friend just happened to say the word in a funny voice, and it stuck. The album title may have been meant to honor a French governor, metro station, ship, or all three. And the song titles may or may not refer to a Swedish snowmobile, the capital of Austin County and a pair of painkillers. But words mean little in the instrumental field, and this album can be enjoyed safely without interpretation. Dupleix is a solid post-rock album featuring touches of improvisation, which tilts it toward the jazz spectrum. Fortunately, our own genre tag includes both.
The guitar and drum duo has morphed over the years, from the electronic / drone hybrids of Enspiel to the distorted beats and abrasive feedback of the Assorted PCP single (released earlier this year). On Dupleix, the drones recede while the guitar surges forth. This streamlining is most apparent on the album centerpiece “Bellville”, which presents pure tones without apology. One can hear hints of Do Make Say Think in the tempo changes and homespun improvisations. Repeated themes help to establish a sense of form, despite the short side trips. The song’s final quickening is particularly catchy, enhanced by cymbals and swirls. A similar attention to motif enhances “Fentanyl”, but the climax is more noise than resolution. The title track – nearly twice as long as any other – fares better, thanks to its unhurried pace. Given time and space, the piece allows the duo to exercise its improvisational skills without wandering too far afield.
The way forward for Glockenspiel is simple. Too many changes, and an act loses its identity. Instead of offering different sides on different releases, we recommend either choosing one set of timbres or offering them all at the same time. This way, fans won’t have to decide which version of the duo they like the best. My own preference: combine the head-nodding grooves of “Bellville” with the brash experimentation of Assorted PCP for a truly psychedelic mindtrip. And if only to rescue potential listeners from confusion, adding a glockenspiel would not be such a bad idea. (Richard Allen)