Release Date: Jul 7, 2017
Record label: Columbia
When HAIM arrived in 2013 with Days Are Gone, a stylish yet accessible blend of electronic beats and classic rock shredding, the trio of sisters released one of that year’s most confident debut albums. It’s taken them four years to craft a follow-up -- an eternity in today’s churn-and-burn culture. But after touring the world and opening up for Rihanna and Taylor Swift (and joining one very famous squad), Alana, Danielle, and Este return with the impeccable Something to Tell You (out July 7).
Haim straddle the awkward middle-ground of pop and rock - a place where the scales are tipped heavily in the favour of 'commercial', rather than 'critical', success. It's also the place where a lot of the most inoffensive, innocuous, casual-fan baiting material can be found. So how is it that one of the coolest bands in the world right now is one that is so unabashedly pop rock? One answer might be that they seem to be having way more fun than most of their peers, and in a way that is effortlessly unpretentious while everyone around them is floundering to be cool, or genuine, or so damn aloof.
W ith their very first album, 2013's Days Are Gone, LA's Haim staked out an instantly identifiable sound with depth as well as surface - something many other bands never achieve. Having located a narrow patch of ground where R&B and 1970s soft rock overlap on pop's Venn diagram, they exploited it mercilessly. (The 80s were called into service as required.) Those distinct eras and sounds are not so anachronistic, on reflection: both Fleetwood Mac and Destiny's Child rely heavily on multi-part harmonies and gleaming production, and Haim were - quite naturally - fans of both.
The Haim sisters have delivered a second album as solidly conceived as their excellent first. Danielle, Este and Alana Haim broke out in the year leading up to the release of 2013's Days Are Gone, and since then the Los Angeles trio have become one of pop's most reliably catchy acts, choosing to concentrate on earworms in a genre for which reinvention is a de facto expectation. As with its predecessor, Something To Tell You is more about hooks than a single hook.
'Little of Your Love' is perhaps the closest 'Something To Tell You' comes to delivering a stone-cold pop banger. "You were just another recovering heart," dismisses Danielle gleefully atop the opening snare claps, "I wasn’t even gonna try". Yowls of guitar intermingle with playful Yé-yé nodding call-and-response, and to top things all off, there's plenty of trademark Haim shout-laughing - yells of 'Hah!' pepper the song more generously than a particularly enthusiastic chef dishing out the seasoning.
LA trio Haim's head-turning 2013 debut 'Days Are Gone' took them to unexpected places: Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage, a Calvin Harris EDM banger, a collaboration with rapper A$AP Ferg, the same dinner table as Jay Z, and Taylor Swift's holiday boat. They rode a wave of hype and saw it through, going from potential stars to a certified phenomenon, capable of applying their talent to several different worlds. But follow-up 'Something To Tell You' is resolute in sticking to their roots.
Stevie Nicks told Haim to keep diaries. It was 2014, shortly before the three sisters from The Valley would begin writing their second album Something to Tell You, and at Nicks' request, they were paying the Fleetwood Mac singer a visit at her mansion. When Nicks inquired, "Do you guys keep a journal?" the eldest Haim, bassist/singer Este, said she keeps notes on her phone.
Haim - a trio of L.A. sisters with an endearing backstory and a bunch of immaculately catchy songs - blew up pretty much out of nowhere with their 2013 debut, Days Are Gone. Singer-guitarist Danielle, bassist Este and keyboardist-guitarist Alana Haim were only in their early twenties, but they'd been playing together for years, starting out as kids in a band with their parents called Rockinhaim, then cycling through folk and teen pop before landing on Days Are Gone's unlikely retro confluence: the Fleetwood Mac of Tango in the Night, the Eagles of The Long Run, Eighties VH1 and Nineties R&B, Kate Bush and Shania Twain.
Haim specialize in pinpointing a specific place along a continuum of distance. Though their songs are often big, snappy, extraverted affairs, the L.A. sister trio has a way of capturing the small moments that accumulate while closing the space with another person, or else watching as that person gradually slips away. Their 2013 debut Days Are Gone, easily one of the best and most consistent records of that year, was particularly adept at packaging its tales of heartache, longing, and growth in a contagiously fun amalgam of power pop, R&B, and rock.
The differences between HAIM's debut record Days Are Gone— released four years ago— and Something to Tell You are subtle. The band's sophomore album is driven by the same staccato vocal delivery and percussion and quick guitar riffs that electrified their debut. Underneath this, however, you can hear Danielle, Este, and Alana Haim beginning to stretch out and play with new sounds.
The Haim sisters are back with Something To Tell You, a big, brash, bold pop record which has rather more depth than some might expect. Anyone looking for proof positive of the 'difficult second album' cliché would find Haim ripe for this most unwanted of accolades, given the origins of this album. Following the commercial and critical success of their debut, 2013’s Days Are Gone, sisters Danielle, Este and Alana, together with drummer Dash Hutton, struggled so much with their follow-up that they pulled their 2016 European tour.
HAIM transported listeners straight to the Valley with their 2013 debut Days Are Gone, introducing the masses to their blend of breezy harmonies, killer rhythms and shredding guitar parts. Four years, an opening slot on Taylor Swift's "1989 World Tour" and a Best New Artist Grammy nomination later, L. A.
Taking four years to return after a highly praised debut is no longer a risky proposition. HAIM came to dominance before they’d even dropped a full-length, and they’ve managed to remain at pop’s forefront ever since thanks to impressive live shows. That’s fully to the credit of the sisters themselves, a talented, charismatic trio of true musicians who earned their esteem by writing and performing truly entertaining pop rock.
Let's face it: the sophomore slump is real for recording artists. It's hard not to still be riding the wave of Days Are Gone, the slick rock record that put Este, Danielle and Alana Haim on the map. And goddamn does HAIM know how to make a rock record with their talent. If you listen to enough of the group's music, you'll start to believe that they're not really from Earth; they must be angels who are the epitome of singing in perfect harmony.
HAIM may have told Rolling Stone that their long-awaited sophomore album contains less emphasis on “studio fuckery” than 2013's Days Are Gone. But the trio's knack for mixing conventional instrumentation with slick digital effects remains on full display throughout Something to Tell You, even if this time around the band's harmony-drenched sound is sparser and slightly more melancholic than on their debut. They also take fewer chances here, scaling back the offbeat inclinations of Days Are Gone and dampening the energy of their 1980s pop and '90s R&B flavors for a more reserved '70s soft-rock bent.
The positioning of Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran as two-thirds of this year's Glastonbury headliners serves as unflinching sober reflection of what kind of art can scream the loudest. Given that we presently fight for breath amidst the mindless avalanche that is meme and 'tag your mates' culture, perhaps a gargantuan musical summit occupied by a glorified bar band and a busker done good isn't so bad after all, and it's not like you can't saunter off and find something more to your tastes. Still, there exists the nagging sense that standards are falling and that the ordinary is the new extraordinary.
An ongoing battle takes place between the head and the heart across Los Angeles sister-trio Haim's second album 'Something To Tell You'. Where foolishness is tentatively lamented against the gleaming hood of album introduction 'Want You Back', devotional promises cut through the sugar-pop divinity of 'Ready For You'. "I gave you my love / You gave me nothing," begins the sobering slow crawl of 'Right Now', where 'Nothing's Wrong' nostalgically speaks to the fading of halcyon days.
Given Haim’s reputation for immaculately tasteful artistry, any missteps long curated away, it is sometimes hard to forget they once appeared on a Calvin Harris single. "Pray to God" is easily one of his best; Haim and co-producer Ariel Rechtshaid provide a lushness to the production and complication to the songwriting that Harris previously lacked, and the sisters--front and center in the video, give or take a wolf or a bear--are a grounding, undeniable vocal presence in a genre where vocalists are allowed so little gravitas they’re often uncredited. But Harris gives back--the verses have the same desperate propulsion that makes "Edge of Seventeen" unmatched in Stevie Nicks’ catalogue, and the house chorus, breaking through with geyser force, allows Haim a euphoria they’d previously only tapped into on "Falling.
In the music video for "Want You Back," the lead single from their long-awaited new album, the three sisters of Haim saunter down a deserted Ventura Boulevard, air-drumming as they pass the sushi joints and car dealerships of their native San Fernando Valley. The video's early morning shoot may have been the most alone time they've enjoyed since 2013. That's when Haim released its hit debut, "Days Are Gone," which after years of hard work around Los Angeles finally launched this crafty family band to stardom -- and to highly visible relationships with a diverse array of pop luminaries.
Vogue Critically analyzing the Haim sisters is an exercise in heady dot-connecting. It’s almost impossible to take their craft at face value, because so much of the end product is indebted to counterintuitive genre-crossovers and antiquated sonic themes. There’s a particular reason why the sister-trio’s most prevalent artistic similarities comprise artists from a bygone era.