The Wrens The Meadowlands

[Absolutely Kosher; 2003]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: indie rock
Others: Boyracer, Sebadoh

New Jersey's The Wrens are finally back. After 1996's pretty-much-brilliant Secaucus, the band has been on where-are-they-now status for the last six or so years, playing no shows since 1998 and rumors of record contract mishaps and recording troubles buzzing by the ears of anyone who bothered to care. So they're back, and why should YOU care? Well, plain and simple; this is what those of us who bought Secaucus and loved it have been hoping for. Frankly, the sheer volume and quality on that record and the Wrens' debut, Silver had pretty well assured me that they'd be able to put something awesome together yet again. Here it is. In the same vein as classic indie rock bands like Sebadoh and current rock-poppers Boyracer, this is a big, wonderful album loaded with hooks, balanced (more than previous albums) between softer, dreamier songs and loud, fast rockers. The record begins with nighttime cricket chirpings, strummy guitar, and fuzzy falsettos on "The House that Guilt Built," builds up more on "Happy," and falls into poppy step by the time "This Boy is Exhausted" begins. My personal favorite is the indie anthem "Boys You Won't Remember," which sounds a bit like "Safe & Comfortable," my favorite tune from Secaucus. This year is going pretty damn well so far, but this record will be remembered. It's really fucking good. Don't wait around for Pitchfork to laud it. Order it right now, assholes.

1. The House that Guilt Built
2. Happy
3. She Sends Kisses
4. This Boy is Exhausted
5. Hopeless
6. Faster Gun
7. Thirteen Grand
8. Boys, You Won't
9. Ex-Girl Collection
10. Per Second Second
11. Everyone Choose Sides
12. 13 Months in 6 Minutes
13. This is Not What You Had Planned

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