For all the past, present and future comparisons with Johnny Cash or Nick Cave that Henry Wagons inevitably receives, there is a level of uniqueness and individuality that shouldn’t be ignored. This distinctiveness and authenticity is again evident on his first solo offering Expecting Company?.
The continued strength of Henry Wagons storytelling is again evident in “I’m In Love With Mary Magdalene” and “Unwelcome Company”, hence the continued Cave references. And as usual the rich and resonant vocal delivery will draw comparisons with Cash as he makes every lyric seem more important than the last, best illustrated on “Give Me a Kiss”.
There is a dominant undercurrent of love and loss throughout the songs, something perhaps alluded to in the album’s title, and for this reason it is possible that some of the songs can potentially blend into one another.
What must be strongly congratulated was the decision to feature a range of talented female vocalists on the album. Patience Hodgson (The Grates), Gossling and Alison Mosshart (The Kills, The Dead Weather) are a few of the talented women who make an appearance. This decision proves spot on as all the feminine harmonies weave in delightfully with the rich baritone sounds of Wagons.
It is a testament of some sort that Wagons is able to call on such a bevvy of talented female artists to collaborate with on his first solo release.
“Marylou Two”, the only song without a featured female accompaniment, is an interesting sequel to “Marylou” which featured on the previous release Rumble, Shake and Tumble.
If Quentin Tarantino decided to make a western movie about an outlaw who is constantly searching for the love he lost, Expecting Company would be its soundtrack.
Review Score: 7.1 out of 10