The Wrens are currently working on their first album in over a decade, the followup to 2003’s masterpiece The Meadowlands. They’re nearing the end of the recording process and singer Charles Bissell has been keeping fans up to date with their progress on Facebook. His most recent posts are a great look inside a creative mind, which usually goes back and forth between thinking whatever you just made is absolute crap or the best thing ever. On Wednesday, Bissell said that his “best years & work are behind [him],” though noted that Kevin Whelan’s songs were coming out better. He returned to post a few days later that, while he doesn’t think the album as a whole will stand up to his past work, a song called “And It’s All Guns & Arrows” is the “finest song ever recorded.” Read his entire posts below and maybe go leave some encouraging words for him over on Facebook.
just put all the most-current versions of the songs together, into a full album file and listened to it top-to-bottom, backing away from the trees to view the forest for the first time in a long one. Then listened to the Meadowlands for the first time in years annnnnd…wellllll…can now definitively say, don’t get your hopes up, my best years & work are clearly behind me, which is more sad because I’ve pretty much burned every available moment of the last four years at least doing this. It’s sorta shocking, really.
Kevin’s songs however are largely coming out better. So there’s that.
Given the previous post, which marks one of the (sometimes seemingly endless) lower points in the ways we choose or need to spend our lives (making records or something in this case), as well as in the interest of providing equal broadcast time for opposing points of view from the same deeply conflicted person, I will say that tonight, 6/27/14, as this mix comes together, And It’s All Guns & Arrows is the finest song ever recorded.
I know it’s not, obviously, and it won’t be even tomorrow but that’s where the high points take you as well. And for one night at least, it is.
And while you’re thinking about the Wrens, check out our oral history of The Meadowlands.