ceo is the mysterious lower-cased synthpop project of Eric Berglund, one half of the Swedish electropop duo, The Tough Alliance. Self-described as “raspberries and Chlamydia.. lost love and Rihanna’s voice” — amongst many other things — White Magic may bring Of Montreal to mind, but the quirky use of samples and the interesting mix of natural and synthetic sounds allow this album to stand tall on its own.

The songs on White Magic either build slowly and mysteriously or explode unexpectedly all over the listener. “All Around” starts the album with a haunting full orchestra sound and chamber singer vocals. “Oh God Oh Dear” mixes beautiful orchestral sounds with a synthetic beat, a strange combination that works well with Berglund’s retro-styled vocals. “Illuminata” busts in suddenly like a Friendly Fires song, upbeat and extremely danceable. “Love And Do What You Will” is a lighter clap-along track with a beachy feel. The catchiest song on the album (and the first single), “Come With Me,” is grounded with a clever sample-loaded dance beat that will draw the listener to the repeat button.

A couple of the songs may be a little too far out there for the average listener. However, they end up working, which is all part of the charm of ceo. The epic title track, “White Magic,” feels like a primal jungle dance, but in a sweaty ecstasy-laden sort of way. And “Den Blomstertid Nu Kommer” (which is apparently a classic Swedish song about summer) could possibly be a national anthem or a funeral march. As weird as some of this can get, there are no losers on this album. White Magic is fresh, current, and will charm listeners to their core.

 

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