Cool is spelled h-a-i-m.
After only four months, HAIM‘s debut album “Days Are Gone” is making its way up indie pop charts, into the ears of your favorite celebrities, and into the hearts of the daughters of Fleetwood Mac-loving fathers. Okay, maybe the last one is specific to me.
The LA trio of sisters brought a cohesive album of power pop to the fall lineup, making them one of the leading graduates of this new artist class. Danielle (vocals, guitar), Este (vocals, bass), and Alana (vocals, keyboard, percussion) started listening to the music of their parents, learning how to play different instruments by ear from their dad playing his records. After a few runs of the family cover band Rockinhaim and the addition of Dash Hutton on the drums, HAIM made their way around the indie rock world.
The album is the soundtrack for a party of the aspiring artists and writers of the downtown locals in 1987 or in the rolling credits of a John Hughes movie. Nothing will beat “If You Leave” at the end of Pretty in Pink but play “Honey & I” and you’ll still melt. Live, there is more edge and more proof this band of sisters are not only insanely talented artists but goofballs having the time of their lives.
There are traces of blues in tracks like “Running If You Call My Name,” and R&B inspiration shows up in “Go Slow”. While “Let Me Go” channels classic rock, you can find early Madonna and King of Pop influences in “Falling” and “Forever”. Their distinct harmonies separate them from being pure candy pop synth or pure rock and roll shred. (But lead vocal Danielle can absolutely shred on her guitar for a solid amount of time, a moment I witnessed at The Glass House.) The album is almost too candy coated, missing the grit from their live shows.
Because of the distinct difference of their album and live performances, it will be interesting to see the growth of the band with a following that has fallen in love with their album and those who have seen them live. But here’s hoping they’ll be in the festival circuit soon. I’ll be up against the gate wearing leather jackets and ripped denim.
Favorite songs off the album: Forever, If I Could Change Your Mind, Don’t Save Me
For fans of: Pheonix, Vampire Weekend, Florence + the Machine, Tilly and the Wall, The Colourist, The Strokes, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down