The Wrens’ Next Album Won’t Actually Be Released As A Wrens Album
This past year, the Wrens finally fractured. The band had spent many, many years working on the follow-up to their beloved 2003 album The Meadowlands, and co-leader Kevin Whelan got sick of waiting. A few months ago, Whelan announced that he was leaving the Wrens and taking his songs with him. Whelan started a new project called Aeon Station, and he just released Observatory, a new album that features many songs originally intended for the next Wrens album. Charles Bissell, the other Wrens co-leader, was teasing a new Wrens album as recently as this past January. With the news of Whelan’s departure, Bissell said, “My songs have also been done for a couple years & will come out now…as a solo album, I guess.”
We didn’t know if Bissell’s next album would be considered a Wrens album or not, but we optimistically included a new Wrens album on our list of the most anticipated records of 2022. Bissell reached out to let us know that he is planning to release a new record in 2022 but that it won’t be listed as a Wrens record. He also said that the album will come out on Sub Pop, the label that signed the Wrens and released the Aeon Station album.
In a series of DMs to Stereogum, Bissell clarified what’s going on with the Wrens and his new record:
There will definitely, and I thought obviously w/ everything that went haywire the last couple of years & last few months especially, not be a wrens record again…
One irony in all this is that when we signed, I insisted on adding a clause that enabled me to make albums outside of the band, not necessarily because I was itching to launch the world’s most senior solo career but because I didn’t want to be stuck making another wrens record, the same way as this one or the meadowlands (i.e. little/no band participation) and so over the same span of time (4 years for meadowlands, about 10 years for this). Sub Pop’s compromise was that they get first dibs on solo stuff, which seemed fair…
I let [Sub Pop] hear the album telling them that after all this time, they had signed on with what they had thought was a very different band, for a record that they had no idea how it would turn out etc., etc. so they should just give it a listen and if they were like, “hmm, this isn’t what we were hoping for” (ha), that would make things easy on both ends.
But very nicely, they were super enthusiastic — I believe sincerely — about putting it out after they heard it, soooo… incredibly long story incredibly shorter, yes, as it stands, they are still releasing it in ’22…
It never really occurred to me to put out my songs only as just the wrens… So no, no more wrens, mine will come out under a new project name which, when I threw the need for that out to the children last summer, they came up with, and are still keen on, Tele-muffin and Bagel Anew… ha.
I don’t think I’m gonna go quite so carby.