Devon Welsh

Dream Songs

You Are Accepted

Sep 14, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

What unites the faithful? Many folks who attend a place of worship await the moment when the leader of the congregation invites his flock to open their prayer books and sing; even the most adamant non-believer can sense the sublime in the simple melodies of hymns in flight. If you study the prayer book, you'll find several themes that bind the canon togetherdevotion, obviously, but also perseverance, and transcendence, and unconditional love, both from the savior and the unwavering worshipper. In these pages, the unnatural phenomenon wrought by the Lordburning bushes, the empty lamp that lights the darkness, the descent of angelsexist as natural and necessary, like the bread consumed in the name of Christ.

From this angle, you could consider the elegies of Devon Welsh as hymns for a secular communion. Through Majical Cloudz, the Montreal singer/songwriter wrapped his horizon-wide voice in gossamer webs of electronics, practically invisible until you squinted at their patterns in the sun; in that world, even the simplest phrases could spark full-body ecstasy. For Dream Songs, those cool silver threads give way to meadows of warm brass and woodviolins that linger, pianos that trickle, guitars that lace. The old magic may have dissolved across the wildflowers, but there's still a space for worship here, an unadorned chamber for your own private savior.

Where do we even begin? The devoted already know what to expect from the sermonWelsh, the snowiest dove as always, pledges undying devotion, reminds us of mortality, and entwines his own wellbeing with his lover's. So, too, the congregation expects those lessons to surge straight through the bloodstream when their pastor plunges into songand certainly "Take It Easy" only shines by the light of that majestic voice, tempered and melismatic like the star soloist in the choir.

Sometimes, however, those protracted hymnals bloom from mere purple prose into snapshots you could find yourself in. The tender "Vampires," for instance, shows us a protagonist stuck in his hometown, who laments of ennui in the same breath that he revels in late night drinks with his friends. More than ever, Welsh excels here in painting complex characters with only a few brushstrokeslike in "Comedian," a midnight dirge from a dying man. "Our bodies may be falling apart/but the way they move is a work of art," says the comedian on his deathbed, struggling to find peace as he grapples with his imminent end. And in the crown jewel, "Dreams Have Pushed You Around," Welsh slips gingerly into the traumatized mind of an unspecified other.

Needless to say, this isn't an easy album to digest; like the act of prayer itself, Dream Songs demands its own space and time. And while Welsh could, feasibly, hold a sermon with these songs in the prayer book, the devout can still find solace in their own private worship. (www.devonwelsh.bandcamp.com)

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