HAIM prove they are the best girl group around with their joyful second album.
Genre is a dying word, regardless of music snobs that kick their feet and cry at the idea. Resistance was futile from the moment Stormzy jumped on a rendition of ‘Shape of You’ and Migos started gatecrashing every song ever. From the intertwining of rap and grime into pop to the rise of the featured artist, musicians are finally refusing to slot their work into rigid categories; but slow in getting the memo is the girl band. An all-too-small pool in an ocean of artists, female groups have become stagnated by loud and bland offerings from the Little Mixes and Fifth Harmonys of the world. Cue HAIM, back to cause a splash by playing their own instruments (*gasp*) which fuse punchy rock with smooth pop.
It’s been a tantalising four years since their debut album Days Are Gone saw the three Haim sisters unexpectedly rocket to stardom. Such lengthy silences between first and second albums are rare, but HAIM have always been ones to take their time – their debut album was recorded in-between numerous gigs, and came after memorable performances at Glastonbury and Reading. You might expect a notable evolution in their sound over that time, but Something to Tell You doesn’t vary hugely from what’s come before. HAIM instead have honed their previous strengths, refining a smoothness to their music that’s blissfully easy to listen to, whilst also setting them apart from the crowd.
The album’s opening track and their big comeback single ‘Want You Back’ stands out for being HAIM’s poppiest offering yet. Danielle Haim’s echoing lead vocals alongside the harmonies offered by bandmates and sisters Este and Alana make for a rousing set of verses, juxtaposing well with its earworm chorus, complete with catchy hand claps and finger snaps to invade your head for days. Their second single ‘Little of Your Love’ is similarly inspired by snappier, modern pop, the influence of HAIM’s newfound friendship with Taylor Swift perhaps responsible. Both are standout chart offerings that’ll please radio stations, but real treasure can be found on digging further into the record.
‘Nothing’s Wrong’ is more retro, calling back to the 70s soft rock their cover art recreates; a personal favourite, the song builds up from a mere strumming baseline to a lively chorus. The album’s titular track ‘Something to Tell You’ is simpler yet, propelled by Danielle’s stunning vocals. The album descends into hushed tones towards the close, with ‘Walking Away’, ‘Right Now’ and ‘Night So Long’ displaying a more sombre vibe, but the real message of Something to Tell You is escapist and joyful. The punchy ‘Ready for You’ best captures that; upbeat, flamboyant and determined, HAIM really are back with something to tell us. We’re listening.
Something to Tell You is out now via Polydor