Album Review: Haim – Days Are Gone

Photo: Michael Flores for SPIN Magazine

Hype hype hype. It’s the one thing that simultaneously makes you and breaks you in the music business. Before their record was anywhere near complete, we were all told by the musos that Haim are brilliant. They’re the next big thing. They’re going to be huge. That’s all well and good, but surely we should have heard a record to back up these claims of grandeur. Nope. Back when the hype machine churned out article after article about how sensational the three sisters are, they had only released one EP. Granted, it was marvellous, but perhaps Haim had put all their eggs into one basket. Perhaps the album will be a boring trudge through the motions, relying on the EP tracks to do the work?

Interestingly, it’s the EP tracks themselves that are the lowlights of the album. The defining ‘Falling’ brings such a captivating atmosphere and enormous chorus combo that ‘Forever’, the track that saw the girls break through, sounds quite meek next to it. ‘Go Slow’ sounded much better with the raw production of the EP, but with that considered, it’s hard to dismiss a song that, at it’s core, is mesmerising and beautiful. Meanwhile, the triumphant ‘The Wire’ is one of many shining moments and delivers a stunning climax, complete with sharp strings and a bubblegum electronic whizzing about every now and then. Exactly why ‘The Wire’ was chosen as a single is clear after just a few plays – it’s everything Haim are all about; spontaneous but considered, unexpected yet familiar and the undisputed curators of a spellbinding hook. Oh hype machine, what a fool I was to ever doubt you.

‘If I Could Change Your Mind’ is a slice of Madonna-styled throwback pop and it puts itself forward as a potential single – it doesn’t sound like much initially but it gets well and truly stuck in your head just a few plays later. Likewise, ‘Honey & I’ has one of the most addictive guitar lines on the album and is a well placed breather after the single-heavy first half. It’s when the girls do something different that things properly declare next level brilliance; ‘My Song 5’ and it’s threatening bass and the country twang to ‘Days Are Gone”s verses really lift the bar for their peers. The 80s feel is working wonders  for them right now, but if you think the Haim ladies are only seeking to tick one box, then you’ll find a lot of surprises on this record.

The reason Haim are such a mighty musical force is the exact reason some people won’t ‘get’ them. They employ a credible brand of soft rock that doesn’t follow the predictable path you might expect – instead it layers it with a bit of genre-defying – R’n’B girlgroup chic (‘Go Slow’) looks good on them, as does country-tinged pop rock (‘Days Are Gone’). Versatility isn’t just exemplified on ‘Days Are Gone’, it’s promised in Haim. These girls aren’t going to be doing the same-old for the rest of their career – they have a thirst for growth and experimentation that ensures the future is exciting and these girls are well worth investing your time, trust and eager ears into.

Photo: Michael Flores for SPIN Magazine
Words: Simon McMurdo


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