”Childhood Home” (released 22nd August, 2014) is the debut EP from The Healing, a London-based quartet whose influences include roots, rock and country. Members’ origins include French, American and English, and they have been settled in England for several years.
All the songs here are written by Jim Moreton, who takes lead vocals and guitar. He’s joined by his wife, Ariel on harmony vocals, Sam Thiery on bass and Nicolas Py on percussion. Their sound is refreshingly simple and gentle, with a wonderful ear for close harmony. Moreton’s lyrics are the glue that holds everything together, subtly effective and melancholy without being gloomy.
First of the five tracks is “No Virtue”, a song lamenting the state of the world and human behaviour. A gentle vocal nevertheless delivers a scathing attack on the failure of political leaders, underlined by rock guitar. Songs that follow this are deeply personal. This is a record that looks back, as indicated by the cover consisting of a child’s bike abandoned on wasteland. Jim Moreton shares bittersweet childhood memories, with sweet nostalgia struggling under the weight of sadness and pain. “Losing My Way” is a catchy tune, with pleasing retro guitar. Reflecting on his life and trying to find his way forward, he’s wary of being judged…”so I’ll skip the school reunion in my childhood home, don’t wanna talk to my father on the telephone”.
A trip with his family to Las Vegas when 13 years old is the starting point for “Tonopah”, but it was the nearby one-horse town of the title that made an impact on the impressionable adolescent. Again with retro guitar, this is about a place and time that represents peace of mind and is strangely satisfying. Title track, “Childhood Home” uses soft percussion brushes, a sparse arrangement and lovely harmonies to tell a tale many of us can relate to – the complicated relationship we have to where we came from. This unravelling connection to home, for Moreton, is rooted in the tragedy of losing his mother at a young age – “when my mother died when I was 19, the first thing on my mind was to pack up and leave”. Musically, “Shed One Tear” is the most complicated and even contains a departure in the form of a leftfield instrumental break with greatly inventive percussion. Concerning the last days of his mother’s life and his relationship with her, it is simultaneously heart-breaking and uplifting.
These songs don’t hit you in the face – they kinda creep up on you. The four members, who produced the EP themselves, don’t overegg the pudding with overcomplicated arrangements, so the songs shine through. Watch this space for news of their planned full-length album in 2015.