ORDO ROSARIUS EQUILIBRIO: Let’s Play (Two Girls & A Goat)
Release year: 2019
Label: Out Of Line
When I reviewed Swedish Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio’s teaser EP for this album ( Ménage À Quatre, said review here), during summer, I predicted the full album would be another solid addition to ORE’s discography. Now, with twenty spins or more of the new album under my belt, I can assure you that my prediction was accurate. Let’s Play (Two Girls & A Goat) is indeed yet another solid and worthwhile addition to the Swedes’ body of work.
What I could and did not foresee was just how good Let’s Play would turn out to be. It’s an album that sounds absolutely and completely thought out. There are tracks scattered on the album that grip the listener from the first listen – Ménage À Trois – There Is Nothing To Regret, already released on the EP, is one most notable of these – and then there are tracks which take many listens to open up. There are tracks that demand your full and undivided attention even after 20 listens, and there are tracks which you can fade into the background. There are tracks that slightly harken back to earlier stages of ORE, and there are tracks that take the “apocalyptic pop” evolution to the logical next step. There is war, there is love, there is sex, there is hate, there is violence, there is romance. In a word, there is perfect balance in virtually all aspects and facets of Let’s Play. And it is this balance which makes the album so durable. The end result is demanding, but not too demanding; intense, but not so intense as to wear the listener out; and through and through profound.
Fans of the misanthromantic Swedes will not be surprised by how the album sounds. Even though there are nods to earlier material here, overall the album represents a small but logical step in the direction where ORE has been going for some time already. It is an unlikely path, from (martial) industrial to (apocalyptic) pop. And, paradoxically, without being neither industrial nor pop. But still being both. I’m confusing myself here, but the point I’m trying to get across is that whilst ORE are and will be labelled as martial industrial, neofolk, military pop, apocalyptic pop and what have you, they aren’t any of those anymore. They have transcended simple labels; but at the same time, retain enough tangents to those genres for the labels to at least give some proper indication of what ORE sounds like.
So, yes, there are dramatic brass arrangements, military percussive patterns, piano passages that evoke romantic longing, and in the centre, Tomas Pettersons’ dominating vocal delivery which still ranges from the seducing devil to the wistful lover to the apocalyptic demagogue. And Rose-Marie Larsen still provides her subtle backing. It’s martial, it’s romantic, it’s apocalyptic, it’s seductive, it’s erotic, it’s cruel. But even if many of the elements of Let’s Play feel familiar, ORE manage to find yet another new perspective, offering yet another collection of tunes that never fail to impress.
Standout tracks? Well, apart from the already mentioned Ménage À Trois, I’ll give particular recognition to [Social Darwinist Contortion] Who Is Born To Rule The World?, which seems to resurrect some of the cruel martial absoluteness of the Make Love, And War albums; impressive album opener Forty Years After Null (There’s No Answer To The Riddle) – whose name, I suspect, bears a personal reflection; and video track Two Girls And A Goat (I Never Knew…), which is a song you won’t get out of your head or your broken heart for ages. Those are my personal favourites.
I’ll admit that I am very biased when it comes to ORE. They are one of those artists who have a real significance to me. Hell, I got engaged and married with their music playing, which might give you some indication of how much their music has meant to me. But, my bias notwithstanding, Let’s Play is a blistering album. It’s too early to say how it’ll finally align itself with previous albums, but I feel confident in saying it’ll be among the best.