Ashley Wadhwani, Contributor Ω
Henry Wagons’ unexpectedly dark album Expecting Company? is a year old, but those of us living under a rock are still lucky enough to be discovering it for the first time.
“Unwelcome Company,” the first song on the album, gives off a dangerous vibe with its dark lyrics, “Until they all lay dead on the basement floor / and once again I could sleep once more.” It’s the most evil song of the seven tracks included on the album, but for those of us looking for less murderous-sounding music, it only gets lighter from here.
“Give Things a Chance to Mend” is just about that: allowing time to cool off emotions after upset from a huge disappointment or relationship catastrophe. Wagon slows things down and keeps that deep stern voice with an old school country feel.
Wagon’s vocals are similar to that of the late (and great) Elvis Presley, but with a modern twist. His lyrics speak to listeners, and spinning this record on those slow and solemn Monday mornings satisfies those more depressing moods that can only be cured by colder and deeper music.
Another edgy track that pops up on the album is “A Hangman’s Work is Never Done.” This song gets a little grim as it is about a man in charge of hanging people. Wagon’s thought process on this is fascinating, as he takes the role of the killer who holds the final moments of those about to die. Not only are his lyrics spine-tingling, but his vocals send shivers throughout listeners’ bodies.
“Please Give Me a Kiss” shares Wagons softer side about that unfortunate relationship where you don’t want to give up, but you know it’s the right thing to do. This track features fellow musician Gossling, who uses Wagon’s first name in the chorus, which makes this track a favourite of mine. The use of the name adds personality, setting it apart from other artists who sing similar sad songs.
Unique in Wagon’s work is his collaboration with a different artist for each track (except for “Marylou Two,” of his songs from 2011 that perfectly ties this album together). These collaborations add the sounds he as a man just simply cannot make, and they work well embellishing his deep and dark thoughts by surprising you making you listen a little closer.