GP-O confounds expectations from the get go. A pastoral, string-driven melody to baby daughter, Just Drifting (for Caresse) flows pleasantly like the country streams and rural breezes it eulogizes. Tender and sincere yet of a thematic piece: the child's pre-verbal state of being, drifting, following it's own will and under a "simple love".
It can't last of course. Things quickly get as dark as the devil's nutting bag. Terminus X-tul, a deeply unsettling account of a young man journeying toward initiation (?), derailed by a - fantasy or actual - suicide jump from a railway bridge into a passing train. Morricone twang and strang ups the drama and cheekily references the time-stetching opening scene of Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West. The first lines of spoken lyric:
Quiet and hooded, his eyes stared out, small hands make patterns on the window.Body shifting on wood, dog outside the door, flickering memories as trains manoeuvre in the old men's eyes.Forever part of a sleeping world, waiting for him to come.Lost dreams of childhood forgotten like hope.These lives are stones made for cemeteries.This time the victim is desired, like misery.He stepped down from the train, dust on road and clothes.Across the way a boy was grinning, hard-on obvious in torn grey trousers inherited from an earlier victim of the white horse.
The shade of Old Bill Lee hovers in Western Lands. A crisis is upon the lad - cue demonic howl of heavily distorted guitar. Time slows, a mystery is arrived at, a secret coda fulfilled.
Leavening the gloom, in swoons Marc Almond like the winsome nephew of Macbeth's Porter, offering Stolen Kisses and Doug Yule VU bubble-gum pop. Though, as "dark suns of sunlight flower", we seem to be talking about the oblivion of smack by way of light relief.
And so the album unfolds. Central themes unfurling like a sickly rose; moments of light made pungent by pervasive dark. Marc crops up again on Guiltless, exhorting us - with, it must be said, more than a soupçon of lascivity - to "see it and go for it". Do what thou wilt.
Sex magick and Genet (Querelle / Queer Hell) combine in New Order-ish dance number Ov Power. In the parlance of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, Ov = comingled male-female sexual fluids. Shouty chanting validates the bestial in us all.
Message from Thee Temple dogmatically lays out the Law of Thelema, delivered by a vaguely creepy if authoritatively warm voice (think Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers). A re-statement of Crowley's road map for discovering one’s True Will:
The temple strives to end personal laziness and engender discipline.An unsettling doubling effect is discernable by the closely listening ear; uneasy.
To focus the Will on one's true desires in the belief, gathered from experience, that this maximises and makes happen all those things one wants in every area of life.
Explore daily your deepest desires, fantasies -
Gradually focusing on what you would really like to happen in a perfect world,
Picking away all restrictions and practical considerations.
Counterpoint to Terminus X-tul is jackal-snarling Thee Full Pack (for Bachir Attar). Equally cinematic in feel, this time evoking the disorientation and lurking fear that stalks Max Von Sydow through the souk at the beginning of The Exorcist. O.T.O., ceremony and fraternal bonding through ritual is captured in the name check for Bachir Attar, leader of The Master Musicians of Jajouka. The song invokes a great threatening force, surrounding us, and from which there is no escape.
Oddi wrth y brawd
[Bonus Themes in Comments]