The hotly anticipated debut album from American trio, HAIM, is finally here and it is very impressive indeed.
‘Days Are Gone’, is a tightly produced album, with synth-pop, indie-rock laden riffs thrown into the mixture, some RnB beats also present. The three sisters have captivated with their strong single releases to date, and they do dominate the album in terms of quality, although that may just be a personal thing…I love some of these songs already!
Opener ‘Falling’ is one of the aforementioned songs. It is a catchy song, with lead singer Danielle Haim (see where they got the name from?!) taking charge with some interesting vocals. What is great about the band is how versatile the three are, all can play at least one other instrument, and the legend that is Estee, primarily the bass player, and her many ‘intriguing’ facial expressions during live performances, make them unmissable.
I saw them for the first time over the summer, at Leeds Festival, and was enraptured by them, the way they commanded the stage and interacted with their baying crowd was exceptional.
‘Falling’ is followed quickly by the knockout blows of ‘Forever’ and recent single, ‘The Wire’, both awesome songs also, with the latter a sexy song with a heavy beat the works well with the Fleetwood Mac-esque riff and the youngest Haim, Alanah, for a segment on vocals, and it all meshes well together. ‘The Wire’ is my favourite song on the record, it drives on and on but remains so so good.
Next up, ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’, sounds like a B-side that somehow crept onto the album, it’s like the leftovers that have stewed over from the leading three tunes. Its not a bad song, not by any stretch, just a brief dip in standards. ‘Honey & I’ corrects that rather swiftly though, a jittering, thoughtful song, with a strong narrative. It’s a relaxing way to slowly sink into the second half of the album, with Danielle’s vocals remaining enthralling.
Another single next, ‘Don’t Save Me’. This was one of the first songs I heard from the band, probably THE song that got me hooked on them! I may have overplayed this to death, but even now I enjoy listening to the catchy RnB beat and the chilled out synth in the background. I recommend anyone who doesn’t know anything about Haim to check this song out.
‘Days Are Gone’ is one part 80s song, one part RnB, one part synth-pop, to put it frankly, it has a tonne of influences infused together, but doesn’t really lose its way, the intriguing riff in the background providing enough interest to keep it listenable. Next up, the moody, almost hormonal, ‘My Song 5’, sees the sisters get a bit experimental, with hints of Nirvana and TLC thrown into the mixing pot. What comes out is a middling song, neither good, nor bad, just a bit mental really.
‘Go Slow’ sees everything be broken down and, quite literally, slowed down. It is the definition of a slow-burner and is a little bit too bland, nothing really progresses and the chorus is a little bit protracted. The album isn’t perfect, but one thing it is great at is the fact it doesn’t get stuck in a rut.
‘Let Me Go’ is next and feels as strong as the singles. Its drum may be a bit primal, but once again, the girls show that they can mix things up- there will NEVER be the criticism that Haim are a boring band, that is for sure. Alanah helps out Danielle on the vocals, and really picks up the song, she’s much better at the pacier sections, whereas her sister has a slower, more unique style. Both compliment the other well, and combine in great style here.
And closer, ‘Running If You Call My Name’, mixes electro beats with slower, drum beats. It surprisingly works. What I like, is that new styles are thrown together, they may have roots in wildly different genres or styles, but it just works, very rarely do many of the radical ideas fail to entertain on this great debut album.
And just like that, it’s over! ‘Days Are Gone’ is a fantastic start for the Haim sisters. It’s a confident, polished album that dares to go where many bands never do, never mind it being their first go at an LP. They’re one to watch right NOW, go and adopt Haim as your new favourite band!