LA sister trio HAIM’s debut, Days Are Gone, sent them skyrocketing with a phenomenal force. From Pyramid Stage slots at Glastonbury to collaborations with A$AP Ferg, HAIM asserted themselves as a force not to be reckoned with. Then, almost as quickly as it started, it seemed to come to a halt. Aside from the odd collaboration here and there, fans were left wondering what had happened.
Then came that one-take video of ‘Right Now’ directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and suddenly HAIM were back as quickly as they had disappeared. Having just performed their third Glastonbury set it is clear that after the four-year drought, the sisters are back with a storm. Their long-anticipated sophomore album Something to Tell You follows suit with Days Are Gone; on the record, it’s a great pop album but it translates into a live rock show. With names like ex-Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij and producer Ariel Rechtshaid on the production side of things, Something to Tell You would no doubt be a very shiny, crisp record.
The three tracks that were released prior to the album gave a good insight into what we could expect. HAIM may not surprise, but they certainly do satisfy. The first track released, ‘Right Now,’ is a tumultuous call to arms for fans everywhere. Danielle’s refined vocals are certainly the forerunner in this track, something that appears throughout the record; the music is certainly secondary to the voices. Next was ‘Want You Back,’ an upbeat anthem with the production to match. Finally, they released ‘Little of Your Love’ which Este, the oldest sister, claims was their effort to channel a “50s doo-wop thing.” It’s cheesy and fun, just what you’d want from a HAIM track.
HAIM explore themes of loneliness and yearning and, in a style that only these three could achieve, they manage to make being alone sound fun, almost enviable, by pairing dark lyrics with chirpy beats and intricate harmonies. Much of it is clearly influenced by Fleetwood Mac, who HAIM are often compared to; in the chorus of ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ they almost seem to sample ‘Little Lies.’ The highlight of the album is the R&B-esque ‘Walking Away.’ A track so obviously influenced by Batmanglij, Danielle’s whisper-like voice in the chorus is paired only with a single beat. It brings to mind ‘My Song 5’ from the debut, it’s angry, fierce and unapologetic. However, this seems to recur in almost every song on the record. Instead of pushing their limits, nearly every track on Something to Tell You can be related to a Days Are Gone counterpart. ‘Want You Back’ is similar to ‘If I Could Change Your Mind,’ ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ to ‘Running If You Call My Name.’
While Something to Tell You is a great record for fans, it will unlikely do too much to turn new heads. It may not be ground-breaking but all music shouldn’t have to be. It’s confident and fun and as always with HAIM, very exciting in terms of the new places it will take them.By Phoebe McElduff