As we all most likely know by now, Haim are a gorgeous California all-girl rock/pop three-piece, made up of sisters Danielle, Alana and Este Haim. Following a successful Summer festy schedule, including a Pyramid Stage slot at Glasto, they have just released their debut album Days Are Gone. Needless to say, the band have been super hyped, earning the top spot in BBC radio’s Sound of 2013 at the top of year off one single. Soo…does the first drop live up to the hype…
Yeah, I reckon so!
On first listen, I was captivated by gorgeous harmonies, disco tangy guitars and seriously slick production. Happily I danced around the house singing along, genuinely enjoying such aural delights. And then I picked up on some of the lyrics…that’s when I realised there’s so much more to this album than I ever initially thought.
The words are ballsy, bitter at times, heavily emotional and quite poetically beautiful. Lead singer Danielle Haim’s vocals are gravely rough in contrast to the dreamy vocal wall upon which they’re laid. She speaks of heartbreak and stubbornness in love very honestly, subject matters almost hidden by the gorgeous gloss of the sound. For example, biggest hit so far ‘Don’t Save Me’ when given a closer listening is a bitter retort to guys trying to go all fairy tale Prince Charming on her – she’s not having it. Given it’s upbeat chime, it’s really quite tongue in cheek, and very smart.
Album highlights come in two places for me. ‘Honey and I’ begins with a chilled reggae guitar riff perfectly suited to sitting around a beach bonfire, and eventually builds to a kind of Stevie Nicks in ‘Rhiannon’ crescendo, waves of vocals crashing toward your ears like the most melodic bitch-slaps you can get. My second highlight is ‘The Wire’; dirty guitars laden with 70’s Cally sound, you can almost taste the smoke and beer as your hips begin wind along to the beat. Singing along with girls’ token video snarl of course.
Overall, it’s a multi purpose listen. Stay on the surface for some funky background music perfect for a daydream montage, listen closely with a bottle of wine for a post-bad date wind down. Days Are Gone is smart, funny, sexy, and musically tight. Let’s hope they don’t all get married and perky for album number 2. Love this!