Haim – Days are Gone

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With the 90’s seeming an age ago and many female musicians choosing to go unisex or solo, the days of girl bands appear long gone. Yet LA sister trio Haim have been making waves in recent years with impressive songs like ‘Falling’ and entertaining performances at Glastonbury and Reading. Finally the record their fans have been waiting for is now released, but is it any good?

Days are Gone hits its stride instantly with ‘Falling’; a song that is so criminally catchy with it’s understated guitar and memorable lyrics that it sets a high bar for the rest of the record. Next track ‘Forever’ continues this standard with its clever use of collaboration between the percussion and vocals, creating an upbeat second song.

‘The Wire’ is a track that smoulders with confidence; Este’s husky vocals sound great against the high pitched tone of the guitar, with the only unpleasantness being the unnecessary synth notes which feel intrusive in an otherwise fun rock ‘n’ roll track.

However in ‘If I could Change your Mind’ everything gets a little too washed out with synthesizer and I begin to start yearning for some of Danielle’s competent guitar playing. It feels kind of hokey, almost akin to a song from a film like Top Gun or even Face/Off; there are too many different elements all fighting with each other and the lyrics feel a little corny: “If I could change your mind/I could make you mine”. Yet, the synths aren’t all obnoxious and overbearing; ‘Days are Gone’ provides an excellent use of synthesizer to coincide with its percussion to create a rhythmic dance feel that I truly adore.

Inevitably ‘Don’t Save Me’ remains a highlight; tucked away in the middle of the record the song shines with a catchy chorus and percussion that has a real weight to it. But it’s ‘My Song 5’ that really surprised me; I hadn’t expected this R’n’B influenced number from Haim, let alone that I would like it so much. It’s a very unusual blend of distorted vocals, dirty guitar bursts and a heady atmosphere of the bizarre, but it’s a pleasant shake-up and reveals an interesting side to the trio.

The album gets a little messy with ‘Let me Go’; as everything collides together to become rather incoherent, and similarly ‘Running if you Call my Name’ has trouble creating a clear sound, making the ending a bit of a confusion.

Yet, aside from the lacklustre ending Days are Gone is an admirable debut from an exciting band. My relationship with the record initially felt unsteady, but multiple listens later warmed me to its enthusiastic and undefinable sound. It’s not perfect, but it certainly screams promise and its damn good fun.

7/10

To be released 30th September 2013 on Polydor Records.

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Third-year English undergraduate, dabbles in records and video-games. Can be found trying to raise money for new games and consoles, worshiping David Bowie and reading young-adult fiction unashamedly.

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