First things first: the new Healing Powers record is fantastic. It is fantastic in every single way.
Second things second: it’s a screamo record. It’s harsh, it’s miserable, and it’s not going to be for everyone.
I’ve found it difficult to find a starting point for this review because there are just so many things right with this record. In recent years I’ve read article after article questioning the relevance or the staying power of modern “guitar music” written by countless music journalists and jaded ‘rockstars’ whose arguments always seems to revolve around the fact that stadium rock bands are not selling as many CDs as they would like. However it’s obvious that these experts have been looking in all the wrong places.
Emerging from a small yet hugely passionate and talented UK scene Healing Powers, and the bands around them (e.g. Bluebird, Renounced, Charlotte Light and Dark and countless others), are proving that if you want to find music that is emotional, beautiful and raw then you have to dig deeper and move away from major label releases.
The UK DIY punk scene, built up of ordinary people pumping their own hard work/time/money into music they love, is flourishing and the popularity of this record among ordinary weirdo punks like myself is testament to this.
While the EP is short –clocking in at just over 9 minutes- it’s packed with emotion and by the end of each listen you’ll feel a little numb from the experience. There’s juxtaposition between the simple yet soothing moments made possible by a gorgeous guitar tone, and the frantic sections laced with tortured raw vocal delivery. This clash is a huge part of what makes Healing Powers so unique, vocals that portray such anguish should not fit so well with beautiful soundscapes but somehow they do.
The songs on this record are carefully considered well put together and perfectly executed, and even though they can seem simple on the surface each listen uncovers subtle things that you may have missed when lost in the trance that Healing Powers put you in as each song flows perfectly into the next. Each listen leaves you longing for more.
On a side note, this morning I received my physical copy of the EP from Wolf Town DIY and it is just as carefully crafted as the music itself. The minimalistic cover art fits the record perfectly, and the lyric sheet has an eerie feel about it and Wolf Town DIY have admitted they made sure the lyrics were difficult to read on purpose which adds to the mystique around this band.
In conclusion, this record is fucking awesome. While it’s definitely not for people who enjoy music that’s easy to digest with super-accessible, catchy choruses, those who are interested in musicians that make weird whacky and wonderful music that your average person might turn his or her nose should definitely give it a listen. It’s a triumph for Healing Powers, it’s a triumph for screamo, and it’s a triumph for every band in the UK DIY punk scene slaving over the music they love.
James Stelzer (@JamesxStelzer)