One of the best bands with the worst luck, New Jersey’s the Wrens were establishing themselves as one of the catchiest and most thoughtful indie rock groups of the ’90s when label problems prevented them from releasing another album for seven years.
In 1994, the Wrens released their debut album, Silver, which mixed the dream pop of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Chapterhouse with the quirky indie rock for which they would become better known. The album received generally good reviews, and the Wrens got even better ones for their second album, 1996’s Secaucus. Meanwhile, Grass/Dutch East India was bought by Alan Melzter, who wanted to take the label in a more hit-oriented direction. Melzter wanted the Wrens to sign a million-dollar contract and tailor their music to make it more radio-friendly. The group balked, and they were dropped from the label.
By 2002, the Wrens had readied their third album, Meadowlands, and had found a home for it: Absolutely Kosher, which was run by the band’s longtime friend Cory Brown. The album was finally released the next summer to nearly universal critical acclaim.