Henry Wagons

After What I Did Last Night...

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After What I Did Last Night, the title of Henry Wagons' second album, bears the unmistakable remorse of a hangover -- or, at the very least, it feels as if the singer knows perfectly well that he owes an apology to somebody, possibly more than one person. Given that undercurrent of regret, it comes as a surprise that After What I Did Last Night plays rather defiantly, with Wagons doubling-down on his down-under Americana. He can still evoke the ghosts of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave -- the latter is an especially apt comparison, considering that they're both Australians enamored of gothic Americana -- but Henry Wagons writes on a smaller scale than either and he also shows a facility for playing around with his arrangements, brightening "Santa Fe" with an '80s electro pulse, and flirting with kitsch on "Cowboy in Krakow." This mischievousness contrasts well with both his heavier tunes and his ability to slide into a soulful groove ("As Long as I Breathe"), and helps turn After What I Did Last Night into a sharp, savvy, satisfying neo-roots record.

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