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The Wrens have finally finished their new album?

The most anticipated album of all time, The Wrens' follow-up to their 2003 release, The Meadowlands, appears to be finally complete...

Fans who have been hanging on every scrap of social engagement over the past few months would have, somewhat, expected this glorious day to finally come, seeing as the actual momentum of the recording — after years of feeble "maybe this year", "remember Meadowlands?", "we're commuting for seven hours a day from Jersey to New York" updates) — definitely seems to have picked up in 2014.

Whilst the band started (or re-started) the record process for the as-yet-still-untitled album* in 2010, it seemed to kick into gear last year, possibly off the back of The Meadowlands' 10-year anniversary.

* Apparently the early rumoured titles of Funeral and Abbey Road were as 'jokey' as they seemed.

In an August, 2013 interview with Grantland, frontman Charles Bissell confirmed the record; a) existed and; b) was on it's way to completion:

[it's] 71.8 percent [complete], plus or minus 35 percent, though that would put us at over 100 percent done if you went the other way, I think. The record came out an hour ago! Basically, it's all pretty done. We're as done as ever going into mixing - the songs sound pretty good, and I'm pretty happy with them in one set of headphones in the universe. In mixing, you have to try to average it so that it sounds sort of good in most people's headphones.

In September, 2013 Pitchfork ran a fantastic feature piece on the the band's history, although information about the new record still didn't seem any closer to being confirmed.

Back to the subject of this long-gestating album: It does indeed exist, though in exactly what form is up for debate. A year ago, the Wrens played back two songs to feature on the album, one titled Leaves and another with the working title The Whole Thing, the Whole Thing, the Whole Thing, and insisted that they only had a couple of parts left to record for the album prior to mixing. Twelve months later, they're just about to start mixing; once you understand how the Wrens function, you know that hearing an album is 90% done gives no meaningful indication of how long the remaining 10% will take to complete.

A live rendition of Leaves from 2010:

And 2013 ended with very little optimism. From a December 31, 2013 Facebook post - "have worked on this record daily since July 15th, 2010. So for PRECISELY the 1,265th time, 'that sorta blew. Time for bed'."

But, 2014 kicked off with a new, refreshed tone. Facebook Wren (that is, whichever member operates their page), posted regular updates (and LOLs) as the recording process wrapped up...

January 2, 2014 - "Happiest of New Years, all. I really feel like 2005 is the year it all comes together for us. Thaaaaat's right, it's the trotting out of the 9th Annual Wtens New Years Joke Show Pony."

January 17, 2014 - "I think the 3 1/2 years we've spent demo'ing this album is gonna pay off in spades in how fast it'll go once we start official recording."

February 26, 2014 - "Have decided to save the cost of a publicist and just title the new record 9.8 (Pitchfork)."

February 27, 2014 - "have I mentioned that at this point in recording - that is to say, years into it and nearing completion - I become completely fearful and paranoid of fire, theft, flood and the like? So with the last album, recorded on ADAT's, I simply stopped leaving the house save for work. With this one, recorded on your modern computing platforms, I merely travel everywhere with hard drives on my back in a sack. I basically look like the cover of Led Zeppelin IV. But carrying hard drives."

February 28, 2014 - "Another song finished, final-mixed and sent off to mastering. I think 2004 is gonna be our year."

March 13, 2014 - "hope to see you at SxSW. But unless the view from the top of the hilly street near me in Brooklyn is better than I think, I probably won't."

April 1, 2014 - "I think you know what my status update today will be..."

April 15, 2014 - "a little weird to have worked on a song, off & on but pretty intensely when on, for some four years, and then whip through the lead vocal, the thing most people are going to be considering 'the song', in about an hour. But so be it, another one down..."

And now what?

Assuming the weekend mixing deadline is met, mastering should commence next week. But then, with their former label, Absolute Kosher, remaining on an indefinite hiatus and the band's disruptive history with The Suits there's a chance us fans could be in for an even more frustrating wait — record label support.

But, then again, maybe the band have a solo route (Bandcamp, mega.co.nz) already mapped out, as they seem more confident than ever the album will (finally!) actually be released before the year is out...

Here's hoping.

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The Wrens


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