HENRY WAGONS plays the Dakota on February 28. See listings. Rating: NNN
Henry Wagons's debut solo album is a slim but interesting collection of duets that are - like his work with his band Wagons - rootsy, genre-jumping and occasionally psychedelic and hard-rocking.
The Aussie singer goes for an alt-country noir vibe, ground that (at least around these parts) has been better covered by Neko Case and the Sadies, to name a few. That said, it's easy to fall for his almost too perfect, mellow country duet with Jenn Grant (Give Things A Chance To Mend) and the quirky Give Me A Kiss, featuring Helen Croome's shockingly childlike voice and what sounds like an Omnichord solo.
Best by far is Wagons's collaboration with Robert Forster. I Still Can't Find Her borrows hints of phrasing and guitar inflection from Forster's former band, the Go-Betweens, and lyrically delves into longing and ghostly familial infidelities from the past.
Top track: I Still Can't Find Her