Search - Wrens :: Secaucus

Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Wrens
Title: Secaucus
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Wind-Up
Original Release Date: 2/27/1996
Re-Release Date: 11/14/2006
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Style: Indie & Lo-Fi
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 601501302121

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CD Reviews

Seecaucus, Hearcaucus, Speakcaucus.
M. Oconnell | Connecticut | 10/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After hearing three full songs and the clunky samples provided by AMG and Amazon, I decided to take the plunge and squander upwards of 40 - 50 dollars to aquire an album I vaguely heard was a diamond in the rough. I was uneasy given the fact most albums I bought recently were at the recommendation of 'indie elitists' only to be sorely dissapointed by the overall album.

Secaucus has a few excellent tracks upon the first listen, the rest at first feels like typical rock/punk (punk usually sucks but thats my opinion)...that is...until you realize the lyrics are better than anything else you've ever read or heard before.

You need to hear between the notes. Get some good headphones and you'll unravel some awesome production undertones and harmonizing that gets buried by the overall layering (recorded in the home studio!)

There lies the replay value of this album. Even if you can't understand Charles Mexico's vocals at times, you'll sure fall in love with the unique lyrics read, or for those without the lyrics - the songs are well structured harmonies laced with informal hooks.

So, if you think $46 is alot of money, sell eight junky CDs on Amazon, or stop buying your Starbucks for a week, or rob an old lady, anything to come up with the funds to purchase this album, because this is indie at its finest. Don't expect it to be in print either because their old label refuses to re-release it or sell it to the band. Instead they dropped the Wrens and hired CREED.

If you pass this over as mere Fan raving, you are hereby stripped of your 'indie credentials'

6 out of 5 stars"
Dance the midwest
e. blue | nyc | 11/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"i don't know what kind of dummy would want to get rid of this album, but you should be honored to plunk down the fifty odd bucks for it if you get the chance. HONORED. secaucus is way better than any other Wrens album by far. it's pretty much perfect."
Forever Solid: The Wrens
Gregory W. Locke | Seattle, WA | 03/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In 2003, after six years of writing and three years of recording, The Wrens released their third studio album, The Meadowlands, to endless praise, thus putting them at the forefront of college rock's radar. Seven years earlier New Jersey's favorite indie band released their sophomore album, Secaucus, a schizophrenic genre-jumping long player packed to the brim with ideas that hinted of even better things to come. What happened in the time between the two albums has since become indie folklore.

To make a long story short, Grass Records, the label that originally issued The Wrens' first two albums was bought out and turned into Wind-up Records. After insisting (with no such luck) that The Wrens make more palatable albums, the not-so-fine folks at Wind-up decided to shelve the band's first two albums in order to hub all funding on their new band, Creed. Those Creed kids went on to transiently sell millions of albums, nearly ruin mainstream music, fill used CD bins and fizzle out into, at best, a hackneyed punchline. Remarkably, Creed accomplished all of this while The Wrens worked on and shopped what would become their classic album, The Meadowlands. Also during this time The Wrens released two EPs, built their standing as one of the best live bands around and famously offered large sums of money to Wind-up Records for the rights to their albums (again, with no such luck). With the recent success of The Meadowlands, Wind-up has decided to reissue the band's first two albums. I'd like to tell you not to buy them in order to teach Wind-up a lesson, but really, you need these albums, particularly Secaucus.

The Wrens' promising 1994 debut, Silver, worked as the perfect landing pad for withdrawn Pixies fans. It was the archetypal debut album: full of spirit and half-realized ideas, most of which were stolen from their primary influences. By 1996 The Wrens had perfected their own sound, going on to release one of the year's most undetected gems with the epic Secaucus. Clocking in at 20 tracks and 54 minutes, Secaucus' palatably raucous tunes were the catalyst for what has become one of today's best live bands. As far as sound references go, somewhere along the way The Wrens realized that they were too good to sound like a Pixies tribute band, eventually discovering their own sound while touring in support of Silver. Secaucus' songwriting, while not dissimilar to the work of more recent work of Robert Pollard, is fragmented and, at times, purposefully nonsensical and slanted. And, yes, you could also call Secaucus "enchanted." In fact, making a mid-90s indie rock sandwich with Pavement and Chavez as The Wrens' crust would prove very scrumptious.

Together since the late-80s, Greg "G.E." Whelan, Charles Mexico, Sett and Jerome MACDonnell complete the core of The Wrens; a band that not only played and recorded together, but at times lived and worked their day jobs together. Swapping vocal duties, sub-genre styles and moods throughout makes Secaucus at first seem messy, and in a way, it is. After time, akin to The Clash's London Calling or R.E.M.'s New Adventures in Hi-Fi, the diversity within becomes the albums biggest asset, seeming almost as if you're listening to a collection of hits spanning the various stages of a bands career. This aptitude for widespread cohesiveness comes from the band member's day-to-day closeness and down to earth approach to being in a band. They take their time, they make the music they love, and, if it means not selling out, they keep working their day jobs.

"Palatable" is, ironically, a good word for Secaucus, but not in a Creed sort of way. At first the recordings might seem a bit jarring, but as listeners become familiar with the songs a needed coolness reveals itself. Whelan and Mexico's dueling guitars are impressive and never indulgent, adding texture to otherwise typically upfront song structures. Most efficiently defined as a tightly played post-grunge album, Secaucus comes off as a more experienced, labored version of Spoon's debut album, Telephono. The mistakes are there, but with their ringing guitars, two-part harmonies and penchant for anti-arena anthems, The Wrens released one of the finest albums no one heard in the 90s with Secaucus.

The Wrens are currently working on their fourth studio album, rumored to be released sometime before the end of 2007. Like The Meadowlands, the new album is a long-labored effort that promises to show even more development from the inauspicious Jersey rockers. A documentary film has also been in the works about The Wrens for some time now, look for it to be released on DVD sometime in the next year. In the meantime, make sure to check out the just reissued priced-to-sell back catalog; hey, just three months ago these discs were going for no less than $50 each on Ebay, if that tells you anything. (Greg Locke)"