Album Review: Haim – Days Are Gone (Polydor Records; 2013)

 

BY SARAH MCCREEDY

Haim’s debut album, Days are Gone, is aptly titled. It perhaps indicates that the days are gone of untalented girl bands who have been thrown together completely unnaturally. On the contrary, these three talented musicians are bound together by blood and undoubtedly assert their electrifying musical chemistry. It is even apparent from the album cover that the band is all about the music – sexualisation is completely understated (Miley Cyrus, take note) – these girls are just cool, plain and simple.

The album itself features a generous amount of singles, opening with ‘Falling’, ‘Forever’, ‘The Wire’ and later, ‘Don’t save me’. The fusion of genres that Days are Gone provides is quite astounding – Lindsey Buckingham-esque guitar riffs in ‘The Wire’, funky beats reminiscent of the King of Pop himself in ‘Forever’ ,  and an ambient disco-effect which would remind us of Daft Punk’s latest work in ‘If I could change your mind’. The ‘girl power’ effect doesn’t diminish with their rawness. Lyrically, they reflect on ideas present in the songs of most girl bands; namely, relationships, break ups, and female independence. ‘The Wire’ provides brutally honest lyrics about romantic feelings that have gone flat, “I didn’t go and try and change my mind, not intentionally”. ‘My song 5’ reminds us of TLC, and lyrically of Destiny’s Child: “Honey I’m not your honey pie.” Of course, with all girl bands, there is inevitability going to be a front woman. The ‘Beyonce’ of Haim is, in this case, Danielle. Her voice is breathy yet punchy, her diction unusual and endearing. In addition, if you haven’t seen her sing, it is definitely worth Youtubing for some classic facial expressions. This is not to ignore the talent of the two other sisters, Este’s solid bass playing and all of the girls’ use of a range of interesting percussive instruments results in the presence of that solid heartbeat of songs that was most noticeably employed by Fleetwood Mac. We hear glimpses of the 70s, 80s and 90s in Days are Gone, but the music is fresh, contemporary and upbeat enough to earn its rightful  place in any DJ’s playlist. We can only hope that Haim’s influence will have a lasting effect on younger generations and musicians. If you haven’t already bought this album, you are strongly advised to do so.

 

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