CEO - Wonderland

An album which prefers to glisten rather than to outright shine.

There are four things Sweden does astonishingly well: cheap furniture with shockingly awful instructions, piracy, meatballs and beautifully eccentric pop music. Swedish madman Eric Berglund doesn’t make meatballs, infamous websites or tacky furniture, so one can only assume that he makes delightfully strange pop music.

Preferring to glisten rather than to outright shine, Berglund’s gorgeously composed pop takes elements from Balearic beat, new-age classical and even an occasional smidge of happy hardcore. From that description alone, it’s got every right to be an utter train wreck. Fortunately, Berglund manages to keep all these disparate elements under control, but only just. The sense that it’s all about to cave in on itself at any moment is what makes it so exciting, even if there is an innate feeling of cheese appreciation that comes from enjoying it.

Scattered with completely bizarre vocal samples and soothingly mushy walls of sound, ‘Wonderland’ is filled with intensely atmospheric whirrs and clicks. The glittery ‘Harikiri’ represents perhaps the best of Berglund’s music; deafeningly pretty without overwhelming with barf-inducing twee. There are a lot of gaudy sounds, but rarely does it ever result in anything inherently ugly. ‘Mirage’ starts off like the beginning to a ignorant trap banger, before shooting off into the closest thing the record has to a ballad, albeit in the form of an anti-ballad.

‘Wonderland’ is consistently surprising, refusing to abide by any rules besides its own loosely defined ones. It fits within its own logic, but no others, resulting in a succinct record that should be anything but. It’s occasionally life-affirming stuff with how beautiful it can be, continually juxtaposed with watery thuds and borderline cloying melodies. It’s frustratingly short, but when it’s so effortless, it’s hard to stay mad at ‘Wonderland’ for too long.

Tags: ceo, Reviews, Album Reviews

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