MIMO - When Music is Your Fix

CEO “Wonderland” – Album Review

Modular (2014)

Formerly of Swedish electro-pop duo The Tough Alliance, Eric Berglund now promises to “make your head spin so much you feel like hopping between neon glowing islands on a quad bike” with Wonderland, the second album released under his flamboyant CEO alter-ego. While such a claim sounds slightly absurd on paper, it’s one which begins to make sense once you’ve heard the album’s eight other-worldly, colourful and utterly chaotic tracks in full.

The follow-up to 2010’s White Magic begins fairly innocuously with the chugging glam-rock beats, lolloping synths and happy-go-lucky harmonies of opener “Whorehouse” recalling the schlager-pop for which CEO’s homeland used to be renowned. But following the shimmering electronica of “Harakiri,” the first of several dreamlike instrumentals which offer a welcome breather from all the restlessness, Wonderland descends into bedlam.

“Mirage” combines the exuberant melodies of Passion Pit with an array of tribal chants and a spooky synth riff which could have been lifted from a classic John Carpenter horror. The title track is a frenetic foray into the kind of relentlessly bouncy techno that Scooter built a career on which bizarrely opens with a clowder of meowing cats, while closer “OMG” is an aptly-titled whirlwind of harps, hip-hop beats and howls which sounds like crunk maestro Lil Jon barking over a Mew-esque prog-rock ballad.

It’s all completely bonkers, of course, while the equal interludes/songs ratio means that Wonderland feels more like a stretched-out EP than a conventional studio effort. But apart from a few jarring moments, most notably the shrieks and yelps which interrupt the New Age vibes of “In A Bubble On A Stream,” CEO’s abundance of ideas all hang together surprisingly well.

3.5 / 5 stars     

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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music


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