ALBUM Days Are Gone
RELEASE DATE 30 September 2013
9.1 | 10
The days are long gone when guitar-driven pop music dominated the airwaves, especially the kind made by Southern California guitar-pop band Haim, featuring sisters Danielle, Este, and Alana Haim, as well as drummer (and longtime friend) Dash Hutton. So when Haim won BBC’s Sound of 2013 (following in the footsteps of Adele, 50 Cent) it was quite the (pleasant) surprise. Their music wasn’t notable for it’s minimalist values or R&B undertones, because that’s not what they do. There’s an earnestness to Days Are Gone that goes a long way in tilting this album from nauseatingly inoffensive to jubilant honesty. With so many accolades before and so little musical recordings, the question then became whether this family affair would end any better than ones attempted in the past. With Days Are Gone, Haim prove themselves to be serious about having a good time.
The group’s playful melodies, as well as the sisters’ wonderful and captivating vocal deliveries, help these songs transcend the level of other pop songs in 2013. Take, for example, the effervescent “Honey & I,” with it’s jangly chorus and pristine production. Later, on the title track, the band delve into 90s R&B for inspiration, and come out on the other side with one of their most lively songs yet. And with “My Song 5,” Haim show that they are capable of throwing the occasional curve ball, as they forgo the smooth, glossy approach to their other tracks and move to something a little grimier.
For a band founded on the internet, Haim have a remarkably cohesive sound. The familial relationship between bandmembers no doubt contributes to that cohesiveness, but each sister provides their own touch to the album, allowing it to take on a a strong shape instead of some formless entity. On the gorgeous “Go Slow,” Danielle sings, “If you turn away now I’ll be hurt from the heat,” and the way she punches the ending of that line by repeatedly singing “heat” leaves a lasting impression on the track. Throughout Days Are Gone, the sisters Haim prove to be captivating songwriters, capable of finding fresh produce in a market long thought to have spoiled years ago.