The Wrens’ Charles Bissell to release new album under different name

"It never really occurred to me to put out my songs only as just the wrens"

The Wrens co-leader Charles Bissell has confirmed that his new album will not be released under the name used by the New Jersey band.

Bissell had previously been teasing that a new Wrens record was on the way, set to be the long-awaited follow-up to the band’s 2003 cult classic ‘The Meadowlands’. However, it now appears that Bissell will join co-writer Kevin Whelan in taking those songs to a new project.

Whelan released his debut album as Aeon Station earlier this month (December 10), with assistance from the other two Wrens, brother Greg Whelan and Jerry MacDonald. Five of those were songs originally intended for a new Wrens album.

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Following Whelan’s departure, Bissell told Stereogum that his own songs will also be released under a different project name, confirming the tracks “have also been done for a couple years & will come out now… as a solo album, I guess.”

Providing an update to the site via a series of direct messages, Bissell continued: “There will definitely, and I thought obviously w/ everything that went haywire the last couple of years & last few months especially, not be a wrens record again…

Wrens
The Wrens in 1992. CREDIT: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

“One irony in all this is that when we signed, I insisted on adding a clause that enabled me to make albums outside of the band, not necessarily because I was itching to launch the world’s most senior solo career but because I didn’t want to be stuck making another wrens record, the same way as this one or the meadowlands (i.e. little/no band participation) and so over the same span of time (4 years for meadowlands, about 10 years for this). Sub Pop’s compromise was that they get first dibs on solo stuff, which seemed fair…”

He explained that Sub Pop liked the record he sent, and that it is still due for release in 2022. “It never really occurred to me to put out my songs only as just the wrens,” he added.

“So no, no more wrens, mine will come out under a new project name which, when I threw the need for that out to the children last summer, they came up with, and are still keen on, Tele-muffin and Bagel Anew… ha. I don’t think I’m gonna go quite so carby.”

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Speaking in an interview last month, Bissell and Whelan opened up individually about The Wrens’ breakup and their personal fallout.

Speaking on the length of time it took to record the follow-up to ‘The Meadowlands’ and the February 2021 deadline he gave Bissell to finish it, Whelan said: “Ultimatum is sometimes seen as a bad word, but if you waited from 2007 until 2021, I think you were pretty generous.”

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