Aeon Station is the new project of Kevin Whelan, one of the creative figureheads of The Wrens. As detailed in yesterday’s New York Times profile, after over a decade of working on new material for The Wrens’ mythical fourth album, Whelan got fed up of co-leader Charles Bissell’s endless tinkering and jockeying and decided to take his five songs, add five more new ones, and create an album of his own with some help from other members of The Wrens, Jerry MacDonald and Greg Whelan. Thus, Observatory, the debut album from Aeon Station, will arrive on December 10 through Sub Pop.
The first song to be shared from the record is “Queens”, with Whelan saying: “This song was inspired by one of my all-time favorite songs, “The Winner Takes it All” by ABBA. It’s about betting on the real you. Like a game of high-stakes poker, you push all your chips to the center of the table and aren’t afraid to go “all in.””
While it doesn’t sonically sound like “The Winner Takes It All”, that tough feeling of gritty, heartbroken acceptance is certainly shared in “Queens” – however, Aeon Station strap these feelings to a rocket of a song. It begins with a synthy, potential-energy building intro, but as soon as the drums kick in “Queens” blasts off into a propulsive missile of hurt feelings and still-fresh mental wounds. Aeon Station pull back a couple of times to air their more tender emotions, but this only adds more fuel to the song, as they quickly crash back into the fireball anger, which culminates in the repetition of “you said it was all in”. It may be reminiscent of some of Whelan’s classics from The Meadowlands, like “Hopeless” or “Everyone Chooses Sides”, but there’s a new muscularity and finesse that suits the song’s determination.
Watch the visualizer for “Queens” below or find it on streaming platforms.