This album, for all of its solo-side-project trappings, feels like a transitional album. The lyrics display as much unity as they did on TTA's A New Chance (in this case the topic is having discovered reality instead of wanting to), but the music itself is a set of elaborations on the Tough Alliance template. "come with me" is more dancey than usual, "oh god oh dear" is more orchestral, and so on and so forth. This results in a small collection of individually strong tracks that don't hang together well.
But what tracks! "illuminata" features Berglund's best singing yet and is stuffed with those ever-important catchy bits without being overstuffed, and "come with me" is simply effortless. (Also, dig the David After Dentist sample at the end of "illuminata".) "oh god oh dear" features exquisite strings that remind me of everything from Owen Pallett to Klonoa of the Wind 2 Original Soundtrack and wrings beauty out of its odd meter ("I finally touched life and it was so so clear").
The other tracks don't hit these highs; the opener and closer are mainly there to open and close (a feeling reinforced by their use of the same orchestral motif found in the chorus of "come with me"), though they do nail the hymnal feel they go after, and "white magic" is a fascinating, high-velocity journey through bass and acoustic guitar that nonetheless doesn't quite know what to do after establishing its presence except barrel forward. All in all, at least half the tracks are worthy of obsessive play on your (surely cramped for space) summer playlist, and the others work pretty well too.