March 4, 2004

Working Class Rockers the Wrens to Leave its Living Room to Play Chicago

By Randy J. Klodz

Not to be confused with Women’s Royal Navy Service, Secaucus, N.J.’s veteran working-class rockers the Wrens will be taking time off of from their day jobs to go on yet another trek throughout the nation. Chicago will get another dose of the Wrens where the band is slated for a March 12 show at Logan Square Auditorium.

The Wrens--Charles Bissell (vocals, guitar), Kevin Whelan (vocals, bass, keyboards), Greg Whelan (guitar, vocals) and Jerry MacDonald (drums)--released its latest album, “The Meadowlands” last September, an album the band’s members spent four years creating in Bissell’s living room. And the band wouldn’t trade its current tedious home-style recording process for the typical, expensive recording studio route that many bands use.

“For all the time that we spent on it, it probably should have come out better,” joked Bissell. “Every little decision you make kind of affects the song itself--the sound of the guitar, the sound of the drum, the level of the vocals, all those kind of things. It takes time to kind of learn how to do. We would do this than just dash into a studio recording for top dollar.”

The sound of the Wrens varies from light rockers such as “She Sends Kisses,” “The House that Guilt Built” and “Happy” to the playful bounce of “Faster Gun” and “This Boy is Exhausted.”

“She Sends Kisses” and “Happy” both detail the perils of a relationship gone bad while mixing poignant, yet sarcastic lyrics and melodic rock. “Happy” lyrics: “You’re a hard break / And swore you’d never leave again / It’s almost over now / Is this why you wanted me / Broken down again,” hit hard while light electric guitar strumming later swells into a rocking end. The vocal combination of Bissell and Kevin Whelan on “She Sends Kisses” has the mellow, yet biting sound similar to the voice of the Wallflowers’ lead singer Jakob Dylan.

Logan Square Auditorium is at 2539 N. Kedzie Blvd. Tickets for this all-ages show are listed for $12 each in advance or $14 at the door, with a show time slated for 9 p.m. Constantines and Bottom of the Hudson are scheduled to open. For more information on the Wrens log on to
The Wrens Photo: c/o Nasty Little Man