HAIM

Days Are Gone

Columbia

Oct 04, 2013 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood Mac. Fleetwood Mac. (Repeat ad nauseam.) While much has been said about HAIM (including comparisons to TLC and the use of the puzzling phrase "esoteric pop"), it's Stevie Nicks and gang who have seemed to haunt nearly every piece of press since we first wrapped our ears around the Forever EP in February of last year. Sure, there is a grain of truth in comparing the Los Angeles-based sister act's sun-kissed harmonies to, say, Mirage. But labeling the band's debut full-length Days Are Gone as mere 1980's revivalism would be doing the trio (and their unrelated drummer) a major disservice. Poised to become the Tenenbaums of rock, HAIM serves up a healthy helping of "almosts" that come hand-in-hand with each comparison.

Days Are Gone is an album of 11 stadium-worthy singles, each band member rushing to the next hook with the zeal of a soldier throwing herself over a bomb to protect the battalion. The guitars are big, the production is so clean it nearly squeaks, and the lyrics basic (newsflash: breakups kinda suck). It all serves the greater purpose-underscoring the band's remarkable rock chops.

This is, of course, where the comparisons pick up. HAIM bounces from strength to strength on a pop rock journey that hits on nearly 20 years of touch points. For all the ink initially spilled on their R&B-leaning tendencies, "My Song 5" is the only song that truly deliverers on that promise. Full of chopped up production, vocal filters, and crunchy beats, the song is an En Vogue-style take on classic rock. The chorus of standout single  "Forever" owes a debt of gratitude to Donna Lewis' "I Love You Always Forever," but the sisters' unflinching bombast elevates the percussive hook into a league of its own. Softness is saved for the album's ballad, "Honey & I," where vocalist Danielle Haim touches on a Joni Mitchell-lite sweetness that builds to an empowering chant by song's end. It's all in the (re)packaging, HAIM upgrading their references to version 2.0 while never falling into out and out retread. So what are we to call these musicians if "The Modern Day (name of artist here)" isn't sufficient? How about damn talented? (www.haimtheband.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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