Published Feb 03, 2014Eric Berglund has always conducted business in a very uncompromising, mysterious way. But with his second album under the name CEO (now in uppercase), the former one-half of the Tough Alliance and label owner of Sincerely Yours appears to be less cagey. Just under four years ago he released White Magic, his debut album as ceo (then lowercase), which continued the imaginatively radical dance pop he began with TTA. However, a switch seems to have been flipped on Wonderland. Berglund now appears remarkably confident, not just in the music, but also in the persona, best displayed in his gregariously neon-painted appearance in promo shots and video.
Wonderland is a sweeping, elaborate album that shows the Gothenburg native reaching as far as his imagination can take him within the pop sphere, while exposing more of who he really is. Assisted by regular collaborator Kendal Johansson and Studio's Dan Lissvik on production, Berglund's idea of a sonic wonderland is equal parts beguiling and bewildering. "Whorehouse" uses a twitchy, bouncing rhythm that resembles TTA closest, while the title track is completely unhinged, like a J-pop composition gone off the rails. But there is a careful symmetry at work on Wonderland: the wave-crashing ambience built on "jUjU" and fluttering dream pop of "Harakari" bring some balance to the carnival-esque peaks, culminating in the nursery rhyme melodies and urban romp of "OMG."
With no shortage of hooks and crescendos, Wonderland continues to revel in the spirit of TTA, demonstrating more greatness by this industry anomaly.
Read an interview with Eric Berglund here. (Modular)