The Wrens have returned. Their new album The Meadowlands, comes seven years after their last album, six years after their last EP release, four years after their last live show and not a second too soon. You might not remember this New Jersey combo from their two incredible, critically acclaimed releases for the Grass label in the mid-1990's, Silver and its follow-up Secaucus. Around the time the second album was released, Grass was bought and changed their name to Wind-Up. The Wrens were told that if they don't sign their 'big buck record contract' all promotion for Secaucus will be stopped. The Wrens, frowning on such tactics, do not re-sign, and all promotion (including support for a pending tour of Europe with Brainiac) is pulled. The head of the record company, infuriated, commences layoffs of involved record company personnel and vows that "the next band to walk through that door will be made famous - at any cost." The next band through the door is Creed. Creed becomes famous at any cost.
The Wrens ditch their really-way-too-big New York law firm representation and spend the second half of 1996 and most of 1997 in a hilarious courtship ritual with various labels through their new attorney. in the meantime, The Wrens release an EP, Abbott 1135 (1997). Interscope Records A&R, on hearing the EP, continues hilarious courtship ritual. Sadly, A&R gets laid off in ugly corporate merger before signing The Wrens. Happily though, A&R later emerges at competitor label and signs the Strokes.
A cocoon-like period of reflection, re-recording and semi-retirement ensues and the band finally reemerges with their third and finest album, The Meadowlands. In January of 2003, Absolutely Kosher Records issues a limited edition version of the album and the snowball starts rolling. By March, internet bulletin boards are hopping with rave reviews (none of them planted_ and in April, the band gives their first performance in four years. Some loyal fans drive almost twenty hours to see them. In August of 2003, MAGNET magazine names the album one of the 60 best records of the last ten years - one month before it's released. The Meadowlands is released in stores on September 9, 2003. The limited edition sells out that week. The New York Times writes a full feature about the band on September 10. The snowball is getting bigger. One September 30, the editor of the highly influential Pitchfork Media website gives the album a stunning review and a 9.5 rating, the highest of any record reviewed on the site in 2003. The media onslaught continues and the snowball is huge. In December, Robert Christgau writes not one, but two pieces praising the album. In January of 2004, MAGNET names The Meadowlands album of the year. English and European labels come a-calling. Lo-Max Records grabs the brass ring and puts on their winter gloves. Ladies and gents, The Wrens.