The Wrens
The Meadowlands


5.0
classic

Review

by Mike Allen USER (107 Reviews)
December 29th, 2010 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And it makes no difference now/as I help lift your bags out/that I'm lost and out of rope

For what it’s worth, change can be a very difficult phenomenon to embrace within music. A particular group’s “fresh direction” or “maturation” is not always a popular among the fans; a catch-22 that yields negative results more often than it does positive. In 2003, The Wrens were thrown into this very scenario, seven years removed from their latest record Seacaucus. As if the band’s creational gap wasn’t gaping enough, Meadowlands is without a doubt the antithesis of Seacaucus’ youthful jubilance. After nearly a decade, The Wrens were transformed from broken-hearted, yet optimistic young adults to defeated shadows of their former selves; beleaguered by mortgage payments, marriage struggles, and the consequences of past decisions. You know, real problems. Meadowlands is a raw emotional journey that accentuates the aforementioned statement to the fullest extent; a maturation that comes to a realization of reality and inability to do anything about it.

The Wrens’ third release Meadowlands, commences a slow-burning record which is constantly gaining momentum; peaking at moments of false exuberance and torn back down to earth. This energy is most notably generated by the searing guitar work of Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, which brings liveliness to rockers such as “Faster Gun” and “Per Second Second.” Bissell is quick to define the Meadowlands’ poignant nature with his lo-fi, sometimes abrasive vocals as well, serving as a disguise for the tormented lyrics which lie within. The aptly titled “Hopeless” is a middle-finger to an ex-lover, serving as a melting pot of resentment and desperation with lines such as “Go thank yourself for nothing” and “Hopeless this will turn out better.” Bissell’s one-liners seem to provide the guitar work with even more potency, which is undeniably apparent in climaxing rocker “Hopeless” and the nostalgic “The Boy is Exhausted.” His most formidable performance however, lies within the guilt-drenched and dejected “13 Months in Six Minutes.” The haunting and stripped-down temperament of the piece, only furthered by Bissell’s whispered vocals. “13 Months in Six Minutes” is the straw that breaks the camel’s back; a complete abandonment of blame and optimism.

It was clear with Meadowlands that The Wrens were going for something entirely different from Seacaucus, and everything from the melancholy song titles to the evocative album art suggests this alteration. What the album cover and song titles do not convey however, is how perfectly the themes of Meadowlands are pulled off, whether this is demonstrated through Bissell’s agonized lyricism or the reverb-laden guitars. The Wrens’ third release takes us to a place far-removed from the carefree demeanor of youth and even the not-so significant adolescent years; a period at which life becomes a bitter pill to swallow and little can be done to rectify the situation.



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user ratings (161)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
AggravatedYeti (4.5)
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shaheen4444 (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
EVedder27
December 29th 2010


6088 Comments


Hopeless is the greatest thing ever

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2010


7026 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yesss
also, Hopeless is the greatest thing ever [2]

AggravatedYeti
December 29th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh man this record.

Gyromania
December 29th 2010


15941 Comments


Haven't heard this yet.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2010


7026 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That needs to change.

plane
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


6094 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Never thought to check out another Wrens album but this review oddly sold me. More love for "Everyone Chooses Sides" please

couldwinarabbit
December 29th 2010


6996 Comments


yeti and vedder. Guess that means I have to get this.

AggravatedYeti
December 29th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

More love for "Everyone Chooses Sides" please

best song on the whole fucking thing.

also Gyro and Rabbit most certainly get this. And Seacaucus.

EVedder27
December 29th 2010


6088 Comments


Have yet to listen to Silver, but Secaucus is really good

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2010


7026 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

maybe i should get on that too

TheSpirit
December 29th 2010


17927 Comments


mike allen for contrib please

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

all i know of this is it made CMGs top ten of the decade and id never heard of it. maybe its time i should

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Knott-
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


10198 Comments


fine ill give this another chance

AggravatedYeti
December 29th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

both you adams gogogo.

Silver isn't bad by any means Mike.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


3771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes.

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

Ponton
Emeritus
December 29th 2010


5803 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh love this

back sections is holding me back from giving this a 5, good songs, but it doesn't flow as well as the front.

oh and

Boys, you wont.

Hep Kat
December 29th 2010


15351 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the second most awesome band i know irl through family

Romulus
December 29th 2010


8441 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

mike allen for contrib please


this

Hopeless is the greatest thing ever


and this + she sends kisses

porch
December 29th 2010


8459 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

good review

still need to hear this band

ShadowRemains
December 29th 2010


21053 Comments


mike allen for contrib please


123456789

this sounds interesting, i shall check it out, pos'd


Digging: Execration (NOR) - Morbid Dimensions



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