Friday, July 9, 2010

The Wrens: The Meadowlands (2003)

(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )

The Wrens
The Meadowlands
(Absolutely Kosher)

“Recorded/mixed january 1999-january 2003 in our living room” reads the insert, suggesting that the Wrens mid-’90s commercial failure on the label that would eventually break Creed and Evanescence convinced them there was no need to hurry in a bad-taste world. Whatever the reason, both the math (twelve songs in four years) and the sound suggest that The Meadowlands was assembled at a leisurely pace. The aural approach is nothing new as indie rock goes: guitars start out strummed, get gradually revved up, and end up distorted and-or feeding back all over hooks, vocal harmonies, and little touches straight out of Big Star and-or Shoes. The words, however, offer a twist—not so much in terms of subject matter (boy meets/does/loses/misses girl) as in the degree to which they detail romantic mishaps that more image-conscious acts would never admit to. By disc’s end, to know the Wrens is not only to love them but also to have attempted awkward frontseat sex with them while listening to a Tommy James and the Shondells eight track. Rating: Three-and-a-half hanky pankies out of five.

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