The Wrens’ Kevin Whelan is releasing a new album this fall: Observatory, the debut from his new project Aeon Station, is out December 10 via Sub Pop. Whelan recorded the album in Union City, New Jersey with his brother and Wrens guitarist Greg Whelan, the Wrens’ drummer Jerry MacDonald, and Tom Beaujour. The album also has backup vocals from Whelan’s wife Mary Ann. Below, listen to Aeon Station’s debut single “Queens,” which Whelan said is inspired by ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All.”
In an interview with The New York Times, Whelan revealed that Observatory includes five newly remixed songs that he originally wrote for the Wrens’ long-teased follow-up to 2003’s The Meadowlands. In a press release for Observatory, Whelan said, “It’s the best I’ve done and may ever do frankly. It’s written over such a long period of my life. Music I did in the past was tinged with expectations or presumptions, but this time, it was just for me.”
The Times article also includes some new information about the Wrens and what’s transpired with the band over the last decade. For example, back in 2014, the Wrens said that they’d signed a record deal and that their new album was “nearly done.” At the time, the Wrens did not confirm the label to which they had signed, but it’s now revealed they signed with Sub Pop and even submitted a completed and mastered album to the label in 2013. Whelan said the songs they submitted to Sub Pop “were great,” but Charles Bissell reportedly “backed out, insisting his songs weren’t done.”
As previously told to Aquarium Drunkard and Uproxx, Bissell had apparently declared the Wrens’ album finished in June 2019, but “internal band stuff” has kept the record from reaching the public. According to The Times, Kevin Whelan “decided he was done waiting” and embarked on Aeon Station.
Whelan has reportedly not spoken with Bissell since telling him about Aeon Station. Bissell, in turn, “said that his immediate thought was that the Wrens were dead and he had to make plans for his own album.” According to The New York Times, Bissell has at least eight finished songs for a potential solo album.
01 Hold On
04 Everything at Once
07 Empty Rooms
09 Better Love
10 Alpine Drive