The Wrens Return With a New Song, “An Irish Exit”

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By Hollister Dixon

It’s been so long since we’ve heard from New Jersey’s The Wrens. They’ve been teasing their long-awaited followup to 2003’s The Meadowlands since 2014, but we’ve only gotten occasional bits of music from them. Why the album has taken so long to be finished is something we may never know, but we do have our first big bite of the album.

On Wednesday, on the Wrens’ Twitter account, frontman Charles Bissell responded to someone asking about a surprise release of their new record by saying, “thinking about it, though I can’t drop album (much as I’d love to be done w/ it all), fuck it, I’ll post a song later today.” It took a couple extra days, but he made good on this promise on Friday by dropping a mostly instrumental demo of a song called “An Irish Exit”, as well as a nice long note about the song, his motivation for releasing it, and updating everyone on the status of their fourth LP. You can check that out below.

Sooo…quite a poop week (after quite an ‘interesting’ year or so), a week in which I found myself thinking that many things don’t matter or not in the way I thought, or that they used to, or at least music, or at least being overly precious & perfectionist about music (maybe that’s it, actually).

Which led me in some post-election despair-y fog to say, “what the heck, I’ll post a song” but really, that’s not fair to the label folks who have very, VERY cool & patiently waited for me to eternally wrap my shit up.
So with an eye towards the ideal politics of the hopefully-not-distant future (i.e. as a compromise), this is an instrumental version of the song I happen to be working on right now, it’s the last one still under construction and yes, that means the album is only finishing now.

There a bunch of reasons for that (the work itself, health, working at night like lots of folks, that sort of thing) but I just can’t bear to hear myself go into them all, esp. this week. I’ll post something about all that later.

Meanwhile, the finish line lies right beyond this: I’ll check the vocal version tomorrow and then create a new version w/ parallel limiting/compression to make the parts sorta squeeze out around the vocal; then it goes off to mastering as well (this is the fourth official round of mastering, all due my shortcomings, not the mastering engineer who is a sonic guru).

The upshot, if there is one, of an instrumental v., is it’ll let you hear all the parts that I’m sure, w/ my limited engineering skill-set, will be completely obliterated by the lead vocal. I hate vocals (esp. my own). They ruin everything.

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