Record review: CEO – Wonderland (2014, LP)

ceo

CEO – or ceo as it was previously stylised – is the solo project of former The Tough Alliance member Eric Berglund. The 32 year-old Swede released his debut album White Magic in 2010, and while four years is a long time between drinks, this forgetful collection of synth-pop staleness won’t have you requesting a refill any time soon. The addition of a child’s vocals on opener ‘Whorehouse’ is more annoying than cute, and don’t let the title allow you to believe there might be an edge to the track; it’s about as soft as electronic tracks come. ‘Harakiri’ is schmaltzy but not entirely alienating, and the swirling ‘In A Bubble On A Stream’ can at least be forgotten almost instantly. Third track ‘Mirage’ also adds children’s voices to what sounds like a bad day at the playground, as the overall feeling is one of a poor man’s Gypsy and the Cat, or label mates The Presets and Cut Copy. The title track plumbs new depths, in that it manages to sound like a mish-mash of ’90s Eurotrash techno-boneheads 2 Unlimited and the shameless karaoke barrel-scraping of The Vengaboys, before a limp attempt at a chorus seals the deal. Elsewhere, the vocal effects on ‘Ultrakaos’ are outright annoying, and closer ‘OMG’ should ideally be called ‘WTF’. While Berglund has seemingly wanted to make a record spilling over with art-pop sophistication of intercontinental scope, what he actually made is a completely bog-standard, formulaic electronic pop record of ultimately fairly dire proportions. (Modular)

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