Side-project team-ups are a special type of musical foundation, where musicians from different bands take hiatuses to work with each other. It’s not either of the original outfits, but it’s also not a ‘solo side-project’, since it isn’t based around one individual’s singular vision. Swedish indie-popsters Adam Olenius (QRO interview) of Shout Out Louds (QRO spotlight on) and Markus Krunegard of Laakso take time out from their day jobs to team-up as We Are Serenades with the unsurprisingly sweet Criminal Heaven resulting.
Sweden does indie-pop better than maybe anywhere else, as well as airy electronics, and as We Are Serenades Krunegard & Olenius take their sweet sounds, but largely lay it over instruments other than the guitars of Shout Out Louds or Laakso. The results are mixed, but certainly sweet. Best is when their uplift is put atop light indietronic beats such as on "Birds", "Weapons", or "You Make It Easy On Me", though the rhythm of "Oceans" is just too light to be truly remarkable. And the group delivers less when they go for traditional sonnets, such as the choral opener "All the Words", woodwind "Criminal Heaven", or strings "Earthquakes" – though lonely Christmas "Come Home" is like eighties charity anthem "Do They Know It’s Christmas?", but with a kiss-off attitude rather than obtuse moralizing.
We Are Serenades and Criminal Heaven are not ‘game-changers’, and Krunegard & Olenius shouldn’t quit their day jobs – because they’re great at those. But it’s a sweet release from a sweet pair.
MP3 Stream: "Come Home"