The Wrens

The Wrens/The Five Mod Four [Split CD]

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Originally released in 2003 by the Wisconsin indie No Karma, this split CD featuring a pre-Meadowlands Wrens and Milwaukee popsters Five Mod Four has been reissued -- due primarily to the Wrens' newfound success -- on the Chicago-based Contraphonic label. The Wrens provide three of the seven tracks here -- the track listing boasts eight, but one is merely an expletive-filled segue -- all of which rely on the kind of fuzzy Archers of Loaf/Pavement-esque slacker rock that morphs not-so-effortlessly between frantic and heartfelt. The Five Mod Four offer much of the same, but opted to re-record the original tracks due to discontentment with the production. Theirs is a more subdued, Midwest take on Replacements-era college rock and a surprisingly engaging one at that. For a split EP that's merely capitalizing on the success of the more famous of the two bands, it's interesting that the better material is provided by the underdogs.

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