Wagons: Acid Rain and Sugar Cane (Spunk)

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Wagons: Search the Streets
Wagons: Acid Rain and Sugar Cane (Spunk)

The wide sonic sweep, aggregation of poetic images and ragged-swagger of Australia's Henry Wagons – here back with a band, and guests – gets the producer he deserves for this: Mick Harvey of the Bad Seeds.

If anyone understands tumbling lyrics and melodramatic music delivered with menace it's a man who has worked with Nick Cave, to whom Wagons owes quite some debt. As he does to rockabilly, mid-period Captain Beefheart, Johnny Cash, Tex Perkins, Lee Hazlewood, Springsteen and cheap liquor.

Yet out of this mash of influences Wagons mostly steers his own course, although at his most theatrical (the dramatic Why Do You Always Cry?) you wonder if he's aiming more for Broadway than the barroom.

And when two influences implode – Cave and Springsteen on Search the Streets – he doesn't rise above the references.

Better are the brooding ballads (the well observed Never Gonna Leave with ringing pedal steel from Matt Kelly of City and Colour's touring band) and given the prevalence of booze references these songs may be best enjoyed down'n'dirty and live.

We'll find out in August when they play the Tuning Fork (29th) and Leigh Sawmill (30th)

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