Pelt – Reticence / Resistance

3 out of 5

Label: Three Lobed Records

Produced by: Mike Gangloff

I’m massively over-simplifying here, but this nearly ten-years-later release from Pelt is an absolutely welcome return to the group’s mix of drone and bombast, and doesn’t miss a beat in terms of confidence in their presentation and playing, but it’s also two rather similar tracks, if arrived at by different means. And because each of these feels like an experiment of sorts – testing the Pelt waters – the single-track sides don’t leave much room for anything to play those experiments off of. In short: this is very interesting, but we want more.

Both side A’s Diglossia and side B’s Sundogs -> Chiming -> The Door In The Hill end up at approximately the same climax: piano, banjo, and fiddle going at full force, occasional splashes of percussion as each player switches off taking a temporary lead; not a solo by any means, rather just emerging from the mélange for a few forceful strums or plunks. There’s something conceptual to take from the titles, perhaps: side B is suggestive of its structure, which starts small and becomes more boastful, leading as a gateway to its final, exploratory section; side A – going from the wikipedia definition of the term, meaning when “two languages are used under different conditions within a community” is an immediate clash of instrumentation, going for the drone effect of gaining shape naturally, as our ears and the players adjust to the barrage. That might make Diglossia sound harsh, but it’s not – we’re still in the blissed out version of Pelt, decades past their noisier fare; this is contemplative noise, and it’s almost like what the B-side “door” is opening up to.

While Sundogs maybe has a more satisfying buildup as a result of its structure, given that they both are about the same pace and, as mentioned, get to sort of the same destination, it’s Diglossia that wins out: it’s a longer stretch of more rewarding material. However, in both cases, these are songs that could’ve been strengthened in effect by more material off of which to play, coming across more as reminders of what Pelt does as opposed to of what they’re capable.