Scrolling through reviews concerning their debut album, Days Are Gone, you'll notice that a number of familiar names and time eras will be thrown at you in concerns to these three sisters. It'll go a little something like this:
- They sound like [insert pop diva, female group, Miley Cyrus, Sinead O'Connor, your neighbor down the street].
- They sound like that [insert band, anything made in the '80s, obscure band only the writer knows about].
- They embody the '90s.
- They embody the '80s.
- They embody the '70s.
- They are this.
- They aren't this.
- They are all of this.
- Blah dee blah [insert witty music journalistic muse] blah.
But dagnabit...you know what? I've fallen into the exact same trap as those indecisive word barraging critics, because its clear from all the grocery list of comparisons that Haim and Days Are Gone cannot be narrowed down or limited to tags of "they sound like this n' that" or a diet version of "so n' so". Haim have utilized their influences in small doses, avoiding all that guck, and have made an album that is fully and truly them as their personalities and musical nuances a chance to breathe. Haim aren't trying to snatch up fallen crowns to be the next "whoever"; they just simply play. It's why Days Are Gone is the most honest album you'll probably hear all year, it's an album by music lovers, for music lovers, and you better believe that is a towering feat, considering that we're in this era of plasticity, imitation, and flashy stunts.
The fuse is lit when "Falling" sparks on in all of its climatic percussive fervor, and it pinballs into the tumbling "Forever", it flowing into the rousing roadhouse rally of "The Wire" (did I mention how great it is hear an album where each song is in perfect tracklist order?) which has become one of the great kiss-off songs of the 21st Century.
Standouts like the frantic "If I Could Change Your Mind" (my personal favorite) possess on-point structuring as does the persistent percussive punch of "Let Me Go" and "Honey & I", the latter which (sigh) plays like the precocious of daughter of [insert any '80s Fleetwood Mac song], but is so damn infectious with its snatch-n-grab rhythm and freeflowing guitars is so non-pretentious, that you're reminded how Pop music can sound when ego isn't in the equation.
There is also a surprising moment where you realize Janet Jackson could have draped her sexiness all over something as crunchy, abstract, and bold as "My Song 5". It also bears mentioning that Jessie Ware co-wrote the title track, and with it's booming echoing chorus, of course she did. As much as there are rebel yells, Haim's softer moments are just as riveting, the best being the spacious "Go Slow" which dips and dives with a wonderfully sung chorus that falls into a bed of meditative webs of guitars and sonic synthesizers.
The sisters Haim have been on this sojourn for several years, starting in 2004, changing their name (Danielle and Este were with the crew The Valli Girls), shopping around a patchwork of material ("Always There In You" from Sisterhood of Traveling Pants and a pen on the theme song for the blink-and-miss animated series, Trollz) and performing on variant gigs (sis Danielle has toured in bands for Jenny Lewis and Cee-Lo Green) along the way. Days Are Gone is the accumulation of this journey, as the girls are older and wiser in their delivery, and the pay off is that the trio has composed a tight and focused assemblage of well-cobbled and delectable melodies that are nothing short of brain candy and packed with hit potential. Everything just clicks and falls into place here. Though they claim in album title that the 'days are gone' I have to question why, because from the sound of it this is clearly just the beginning....