Henry Wagons: Expecting Company?

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Henry Wagons
Expecting Company?
(Spunk/Thirty Tigers)
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

The Aussie frontman of the Wagons band takes solo billing on this 23-minute, 7 song EP. As its title implies, he is joined by guests, all but one of which is a female vocalist. With a baritone that finds its heart in rumbling Johnny Cash/Nick Cave drama and an edgy version of Americana, Wagons gallops through the opening “Unwelcome Company” with the similarly styled Alison Mosshart, on loan from the Kills, adding more shades of gray. The other females are not as well-known stateside but are no less effective bringing a distaff balance to Wagons’ ominous testosterone laced vibe. It’s especially effective with Gossling’s little girl voice dueting on “Give Me a Kiss,” a waltz time tune about the final smooch before the end of a relationship. Ex-Go-Betweens founder Robert Forster provides the internal voice as Wagons searches for his artistic muse who takes the form of a woman in “I Still Can’t Find Her,” and Sophia Brous helps divide the good from evil in “I’m In Love With Mary Magdalene.” Perhaps with a larger budget Wagons could have employed Ennio Morricone to provide some Spaghetti Western themes, but barring that, this remains a cool, downbeat and shadowy version of the duskier side of Americana.

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