Word came down way back in 2014 that The Wrens had actually finished work on their first album since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Two years on, and we still haven’t heard anything from the release. And with frontman Charles Bissell battling cancer, fans may have started worrying we’d never get the long-in-the-works effort. Well, never fear, because the band has today shared a super advanced listen to a song from the album — a song Bissell says is “the last one still under construction.”
Spurred on to share something positive at the end of a crummy week at the end of a crummy year, Bissell posted an instrumental version of a track called “At Irish Exit”. A stalking bass line and sneaking guitars give the track a sinister vibe, amplified by the unintelligible background vocals that show up throughout the track. Though this is an unfinished sample of the LP, “At Irish Exit” should whet anticipation for more — which Bissell hints could actually be coming fairly soon.
“… The finish line lies right beyond this,” he wrote in the SoundCloud’s caption. “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.”
Take a listen to the instrumental below, followed by Bissell’s complete statement.
“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.”