Singer and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Whelan has shared the first song from his upcoming album Observatory that is scheduled to drop December 10 via Sub Pop. Released under his newly created project, Aeon Station, “Queens” is a hypnotic rock song that features an explosive chorus, ripping guitars and ethereal vocal lines.
“Queens” is a five-minute track that is reportedly inspired by ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All.” The song begins with a sustained synth note that bleeds into a mellow verse. A heartbroken Whelan sings about a past relationship in which he was lied to and deceived. Despite this, Whelan admits that “It’s so hard so hard to leave you behind” before the song launches into a guitar explosion. A multiplicity of soaring guitars work in unison to create a mesmerizing wall of sound. The drum in this track is especially punchy and it pairs well with the power of the over-driven guitars. The middle of the song features a pacified period that offers a brief moment of respite before yielding to another eruption of guitar layers. The song closes with Whelan singing alone with a melodic acoustic guitar as the music slowly fades out.
Whelan is best known for his work with American Indie rock band The Wrens. Observatory was recorded in Union City, New Jersey with his brother and Wrens guitarist Greg Whelan, the Wrens’ drummer Jerry MacDonald and producer Tom Beaujour. The album will also feature backup vocals from Whelan’s wife Mary Ann.
Earlier this month, Whelan spoke with The New York Times about his upcoming album. The musician revealed that Observatory will include five newly remixed songs that he initially wrote for The Wren’s yet to be released fourth studio album. Speaking about his new album, Whelan is proud of his work. “It’s the best I’ve done and may ever do frankly,” says the songwriter.
Fans of The Wrens have long wondered about the dearth of studio albums from the band in the past two decades. In The Times article, Whelan reveals that after several internal controversies surrounding the rollout of their unreleased fourth album he “decided that he was done waiting” and embarked on a solo pursuit instead. The Wrens’ Lead vocalist, Charles Bissell, is the only bandmate that is not a part of Whelan’s Aeon Station project.
1. Hold On
4. Everything at Once
7. Empty Rooms
9. Better Love
10. Alpine Drive