TO GET HOME - The Wagons (Chapter/ Corduroy)
North of the Murray Darling Basin in Sydney slick, overplayed country music tends to predominate from mostly well-aged artists. Down south it's a different story. Ragged, emotional young "alternative country" acts have taken considerable hold in Melbourne and a relatively new addition to the young pack are The Wagons.
The Wagons are a five-piece group, fronted by Henry Krips (a North American immigrant) joined by four local Melbournians in Steve Hassett (bass / vocals), Richard Blaze (guitar), Mark Dawson (drums) and Simon Francis (percussion).
"Trying to Get Home" comprises 10 original compositions and the band play the kind of melancholy alt country which is noticeably influenced by the likes of Neil Young (ca "Harvest"), Gene Clark (RIP), Flying Burrito Bros, Scud Mountain Boys / The Pernice Brothers and Beachwood Sparks amongst others.
"Summertime" opens the CDLP and is a harmony laced, laidback, down tempo, easy going tune and features sparse lead guitar and interesting use of percussion (the use of which could conjure for some the sound made when using certain implements for recreational drug use). Lyrically 'Summertime' recalls Henry Krips memories and reminscences of Summer, when he was a youngster.
Track four, "Waverley" is an early highlight as it examines the strange occurences in outer Melbourne suburbia and has sound samples running throughout the song. More tasteful, understated lead guitar from Guitarist Richard Blaze.
"In the Future" follows and Henry Krips examines the lives of people in the not-to-distant future and (perhaps appropriately) features sound samples from either a personal computer or MIDI system."'Las Vegas" lifts the tempo somewhat and is Henry Krips' not-so-fond memories of a visit to Las Vegas and samples the sound of poker (slot) machines. It seems that visit to Las Vegas had quite an effect on him, as he delves further into it in "High Rollin'", the story of a certain gambling man, he met or heard about.
"Carrying a Noose" closes the CDLP and is yet another narrative story tune examining a person with habits and a penchant for illegal activities, but who recognises the effects of these on his life. This is combined with a secret track of loud indie rock inspired noise, which has the listener caught well off-guard.
"Trying to Get Home" is an impressive debut effort from this Melbourne-based alternative country group. - Simon Li
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