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Abstract Crimewave

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First things first: Abstract Crimewave are not a new band. Joakim Åhlund and Bjorn Yttling have been making music together for over a decade, and this record is their third together, following on from Phantom Island in 2022 and their debut, 2012’s A Flash in the Night. Then, though, they were called Smile, and it was only after they finished work on this scintillating third record that they realised a change of identity might be a good idea.

“We never would have changed our name,” explains Åhlund, “but those guys from Radiohead, they stole it! And it looks like they aren’t going to quit, and they’re on some huge record label, so we were always going to be the other Smile if we continued. But our new name is way better than Smile, anyway. So they can have it.”

Consequently, they are now reborn as Abstract Crimewave, and have their finest collection of songs to date to offer up as a first mission statement under their new name. It was perhaps unsurprising that nearly a decade passed between their first and second albums; after all, the pair both have many musical irons in the fire. Åhlund is a legend of the Swedish underground, somebody who has played in bands including Teddybears, Caesars and Les Big Byrd and is a producer of international renown, having written for and produced the likes of Robyn, Charli XCX and Giorgio Moroder. Yttling, too, has a vastly impressive resume; he is the Bjorn in Stockholm indie pop stalwarts Peter Bjorn and John, and has produced and written for Lykke Li, Primal Scream and Nekocase, among many others.

The Longest Night, which features guest appearances by Chrissie Hynde, Lykke Li and Dungen, is the sound of Åhlund and Yttling paying tribute to the many different styles of music they love. It's an infectiously sunny journey into the wonderfully weird world.

1. Heading Out 2. The Gambler (feat. Lykke Li) 3. Sailing Away 4. The Lighthouse 5. The Longest Night (feat. Chrissie Hynde) 6. Flyga Fram (feat. Dungen) 7. Dämba Träsk 8. Dödmansgrepp

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