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Aeon Station|Observatory

Observatory

Aeon Station

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The weight of personal history and unmet expectations informs Observatory, the reflective solo debut from former Wrens member Kevin Whelan. Since the release of The Meadowlands in 2003, fans of the commercially maligned but critically lauded indie rock band have waited in vain for a follow-up that never materialized. They came close. The Wrens signed with Sub Pop in 2013 and even delivered a mastered version of their fourth album to the label, but it was ultimately vetoed by Charles Bissell, the band's chief songwriter. Whelan served as the Wrens' other primary songsmith and unlike Bissell, he was eager to get his songs across the finish line. By 2021, he could no longer tolerate the group's inertia and made the tough call to pull his material out, thus ending the Wrens' state of languishment. Under the name Aeon Station, Whelan reworked his lost Wrens songs and complimented them with a decade's worth of additional sketches and demos to form a complete album. Collated as it was, Observatory doesn't sound nearly as disjointed as one might expect. Former bandmates Jerry MacDonald and his brother Greg Whelan are both present on a number of songs, and the introspective tone that characterized much of Whelan's Wrens output carries over into Aeon Station. Wrestling with themes of regret and unrealized potential, Observatory is intense and frequently cathartic, though not without a sense of tenderness. You can almost hear Whelan's perspectives change as he journeys through therapeutic epics like "Leaves" and the power pop gem "Everything at Once." His distinctive voice ranges from hushed and poignant to ragged rage in the space of a single verse, playing the dynamics with a veteran's craft. As might be expected from an album whose genesis began in the mid-2000s, it doesn't necessarily fit into the contemporary indie rock landscape. The record's earnest delivery and blaring crescendos befit an artist whose most active period was around the turn of the millennium. Still, even without its baggage or backstory, Observatory is a satisfying listen and deserves to be heard on its own merits. On whether or not it will appease longtime Wrens fans as a vestige of a long-promised return, the jury remains out.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo

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Observatory

Aeon Station

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1
Hold On
00:01:37

Tom Beaujour, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

2
Leaves
00:05:15

Tom Beaujour, Mixer - Charles Bissell, Engineer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger, Engineer - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

3
Fade
00:05:35

Tom Beaujour, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

4
Everything at Once
00:03:39

Tom Beaujour, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

5
Move
00:03:34

Tom Beaujour, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

6
Queens
00:04:59

Tom Beaujour, Mixer - Charles Bissell, Engineer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger, Engineer - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

7
Empty Rooms
00:03:19

Tom Beaujour, Mixer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger, Engineer - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

8
Air
00:04:52

Tom Beaujour, Mixer - Charles Bissell, Engineer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger, Engineer - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

9
Better Love
00:02:57

Tom Beaujour, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

10
Alpine Drive
00:03:01

Tom Beaujour, Mixer - Kevin Whelan, Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Arranger, Engineer - Aeon Station, MainArtist

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

Descripción del álbum

The weight of personal history and unmet expectations informs Observatory, the reflective solo debut from former Wrens member Kevin Whelan. Since the release of The Meadowlands in 2003, fans of the commercially maligned but critically lauded indie rock band have waited in vain for a follow-up that never materialized. They came close. The Wrens signed with Sub Pop in 2013 and even delivered a mastered version of their fourth album to the label, but it was ultimately vetoed by Charles Bissell, the band's chief songwriter. Whelan served as the Wrens' other primary songsmith and unlike Bissell, he was eager to get his songs across the finish line. By 2021, he could no longer tolerate the group's inertia and made the tough call to pull his material out, thus ending the Wrens' state of languishment. Under the name Aeon Station, Whelan reworked his lost Wrens songs and complimented them with a decade's worth of additional sketches and demos to form a complete album. Collated as it was, Observatory doesn't sound nearly as disjointed as one might expect. Former bandmates Jerry MacDonald and his brother Greg Whelan are both present on a number of songs, and the introspective tone that characterized much of Whelan's Wrens output carries over into Aeon Station. Wrestling with themes of regret and unrealized potential, Observatory is intense and frequently cathartic, though not without a sense of tenderness. You can almost hear Whelan's perspectives change as he journeys through therapeutic epics like "Leaves" and the power pop gem "Everything at Once." His distinctive voice ranges from hushed and poignant to ragged rage in the space of a single verse, playing the dynamics with a veteran's craft. As might be expected from an album whose genesis began in the mid-2000s, it doesn't necessarily fit into the contemporary indie rock landscape. The record's earnest delivery and blaring crescendos befit an artist whose most active period was around the turn of the millennium. Still, even without its baggage or backstory, Observatory is a satisfying listen and deserves to be heard on its own merits. On whether or not it will appease longtime Wrens fans as a vestige of a long-promised return, the jury remains out.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo

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