Album Review :
The Welcome Wagon - Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices
- I’m Not Fine
- My God, My God, Parts 1 & 2
- I Know That My Redeemer Lives
- Rice and Beans (But No Beans)
- Would You Come And See Me In New York
- My Best Days, Parts 1 & 2
- Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending
- Draw Nigh
- The Strife Is O’er
- God Be With You Til We Meet Again
- Nature’s Goodnight
For anyone that has questions about Sufjan Stevens’s faith after his last album, know that he’s certainly not hesitant to release something strongly Christian through his label Asthmatic Kitty. Sufjan has taken on a lesser role on Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices than he has previously (he produced The Welcome Wagon’s first album), but his fingerprints still seem to be all over this release. The husband-and-wife duo of Vito and Monique Auito are heavily influenced by Sufjan’s earlier material, with airy chamber pop melodies and subtle arrangements galore. Precious Remedies is left mostly experimental and unfocused, however, and for the better; it’s an incredibly easy listen with few-to-no hiccups along the way.
The Welcome Wagon’s effortless and genuine quirkiness is refreshing. The couple trades vocals from song to song, with Vito sounding remarkably like Sufjan Stevens in annunciation and cadence. Monique’s vocals are wispier and more aesthetic, finding great success in songs like the 7+ minute “My God, My God, Parts 1 & 2,” which gracefully wanders through its length with the aid of a strong, choral arrangement. Mellow tracks such as this one make up a decent portion of Precious Remedies, with the other cuts being vaguely silly, simple folk numbers like “Rice and Beans (But No Beans),” “Remedy,” and “God Be With You Til We Meet Again,” which bring some of Danielson’s more subdued moments to mind. All of this is made possible by The Welcome Wagon’s modest, worshipful lyricism that ties together their indie folk foundations, subtle bluegrass influences, and baroque arrangements. By not seeking to go beyond their limits or aiming for the grandiose heights of their peers, The Welcome Wagon manage often to feel more comfortable and relaxed than their peers as well.
Overall: Sweetly simple, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices is engrossing enough to satisfy any indie folk enthusiast. While there’s no strong statement to be found, this duo still manages to wear the right influences on their sleeves to emerge creatively as a lightweight standout.
RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Josh Garrels, Danielson, David Crowder Band, Timbre