It’s common knowledge family is intertwined by blood but when those ties are interwoven by music and threaded through sisterhood, the end result is a trio of ethereal sirens bouncing off one another with impeccable timing. This fascinating specimen is called Haim. They have been together since birth but fully grew into their gift in 2006 which flowered into success during 2012 after performances at the SXSW Festival, supporting the likes of Florence and the Machine, Ke$ha and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and getting signed to Polydor Records in the UK. Their unique brand of raw almost alien harmonies accompanied by warlike tribal beats has captured the attention of BBC Radio 1 which led to them being the first female group endowed with the coveted title of ‘BBC Sound of…’ earlier this year, a prestigious title which predicted a fantastic year for the sibling trio – one which they have lived up to completely.
Their newly released debut album Days Are Gone, which debuted at #1 on the UK albums chart over the weekend, is an eclectic mix of tracks from their 2012 EP Forever, sprinkled with fresh offerings. A particularly power track from the Days Are Gone record is “The Wire” which starts with a particularly 50’s back and forth instrumental progression, rocking between Haim’s original vibes, a dated rockabilly guitar and something playful and incandescent brought by the claps. Combined by their flawless harmonies, “The Wire” sonically drags the listener back to a time of showgirls and synchronized high kicks and this jaunt back into the past could be referencing the high standard American women in the 50’s had to live up to whilst cheerily being the American dream. Lyrically, “The Wire” is an excellently benevolent, albeit smug, tale of a romance gone south with the Haim sisters offering scant consolation to their ex-love interest with lyrics such as, “I know I know I know I know // That you’re gonna be okay anyway“.
‘Girl Power’ seems to be something of an underlying theme with “Don’t Save Me”, clearly asserting that women simply do not need men to save them, on the surface however, “Don’t Save Me” lyrically is ‘about a boy’ whose love is not strong enough to save their relationship. The record elongates that optimistic head-nodding atmosphere that “The Wire” created just two songs ago on this record. The lighthearted Rock song which graced most British festival this year is flavored with energetic bursts of piano arrangements and spurts of synths that seem to spread out and echo the magnificence of their message. The flowery and gentle Synth-Pop builds up to the moment when Haim bellow in unison their war cry “don’t save me” with the silky soft yet empowering 70’s vibe, recognized by the steady simple drum patterns, empowering that innate rebellion every female listener has hidden under a misogynistic 21st century.
“Don’t Save Me”:
A quiet tap explodes into a seductive drum held with an inviting harmony on the album’s lead single “Falling” as if all three sisters are balancing on the edge of a tall building. The anticipating percussion arrangements become a crescendo as each bar becomes faster and louder until the final jump where Haim show an inhuman vocal control over the tune with each sister shouts of “falling” at intervals, creating an acapella excursion so raw and human yet so alien to us as an audience who have grown up with so much of today’s manufactured Pop music. We have forgotten how music stripped to it’s finest form can become an unforgettable experience characterized by fierce individuality and that is exactly what Haim bring to the fore, not only on “Falling” but on this Days Are Gone album.
With their nods back to Gospel choirs, Soul, 80’s Soft Rock and even 90’s R&B music translating to such stellar songs such as “If I Could Change Your Mind” and “My Song 5” to mention just a couple more, Haim have inadvertently broken through a male dominated alternative world where women don’t need to use other assets to amplify their talent. With this all-encompassing indie compilation, the message is clear – blood is thicker than water – so when blood turns to music other acts become bland and transparent in comparison. Days Are Gone is out now via Polydor Records and you can get your hands on this resoundingly excellent record here.
Reviewed by Skye Baker // Edited by Ayo Adepoju