I bought Matt a CD for Christmas last year. It was a bit of a gamble. I had never listened to it before, I was banking on the fact that we own a previous album from the band and we both love it.
The gamble paid off. Late summer and autumn has been spent settling into the music, then soaking it up and basking in its greatness as we listened to it over and over again. I think it’s going to be one of my favourite albums ever.
Welcome to this review of The Welcome Wagon’s Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices
For those who haven’t yet come across The Welcome Wagon, the outfit is made up of a husband and wife, Monique and the Rev Vito Aiuto, accompanied by a killer band and choir and produced by Asthmatic Kitty Records. Vito’s full time job is as a Presbyterian pastor, Monique is an artist. Neither are musically trained but somehow they have pulled off an amazing second album which, by my reckoning, is even better than their first.
The beauty of the album comes not from new lyrics – Most of the songs are ‘covers’, adapted music and lyrics from The Cure, David Crowder, King David, Charles Wesley… No, the beauty of the album lies in its friendly musical style. The sounds and content evoke an image of brothers and sisters coming together in simple worship, which I gather was the Welcome Wagon’s main aim. At the album’s release Vito explained that Precious Remedies has a liturgical structure, plainly seen as the album ebbs and flows between confessions of sin, declarations of forgiveness, bold announcements of what Jesus has done, moments for Christ’s people to share in love and support and even a sending out at the end.
The Welcome Wagon themselves are the epitome of Christian hipster with their aesthetic, their embracing of old traditions, their glockenspiel, their celebration of community. The fact that they are Presbyterians. In New York. Guys. Did you see the Breakfast-At-Tiffany’s animal mask in that video!? But then, even coated in five hundred hipster cliches, this album is amazing. I don’t care whether they were hipsters before or after it was cool. I hope they don’t either. They sound fantastic and they turn our attention to Jesus, which is definitely the best part of their music. This album has been a huge blessing in the lead up to Easter. I am really looking forward to playing Precious Remedies again on Easter morning and singing along to all my favourite songs with Matthew in our living room.
I’m Not Fine (“I told you I was sorry, doesn’t feel like it’s enough”)
My God, My God (“Please be not far away from me, I have no source of help but thee”)
I Know That My Redeemer Lives (“He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King”)
Rice and Beans (“Worn through shoes, cheque may bounce”)
High (“When I see you take the same sweet steps you used to take”)
Remedy (“He is the one who has come and is coming again, He is the remedy”)
Would You Come and See Me In New York? (“I’m not mad, the past is through”)
My Best Days (“Those are my best days when I shake with fear”)
Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending (“The tokens of his passion still his dazzling body bears”)
Draw Nigh & Take the Body of the Lord (“Offered was He for greatest and for least”)
The Strife is O’er, the Battle Won (“Hallelujah!”)
God Be With You Until We Meet Again (“With his sheep securely fold you”)
Nature’s Goodnight (“Trees now dressed in faded brown”)
The album is available for purchase here, it’s a steal at US$8 for the mp3s or US$10+shipping for a physical album to be delivered to your front door.
I know that my redeemer lives. Happy Easter.