LA trio Haim’s head-turning 2013 debut ‘Days Are Gone’ took them to unexpected places: Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, a Calvin Harris EDM banger, a collaboration with rapper A$AP Ferg, the same dinner table as Jay Z, and Taylor Swift’s holiday boat. They rode a wave of hype and saw it through, going from potential stars to a certified phenomenon, capable of applying their talent to several different worlds. But follow-up ‘Something To Tell You’ is resolute in sticking to their roots.
After years on the road, the three sisters – Danielle, Este and Alana – found themselves itching to apply a well-honed live craft to the studio. They reunited with deskman Ariel Rechtshaid and avoided production gimmicks. The end result is a record rooted in the bass flicks, shimmering synths and lovelorn lyrics that defined their debut.
Everything’s recorded in crystal-sharp clarity, to the point where you can practically hear feet stomping on the studio floor and guitar strings breaking under strain. ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ is this year’s go-to soundtrack for first romances and post-heartbreak road trips; the thudding ‘Found It In Silence’ boasts strings not a thousand miles from Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’; while the slowed down, George Harrison-nodding ‘You Never Knew’ sees Haim mastering a different world.
Every track has a certain throwback factor. The title track’s bass snaps like a Michael Jackson classic, the handclapping ‘Ready For You’ gives way to a George Michael ‘Faith’-style acoustic refrain. Yet instead of being reverential nods to the past, it sounds like a very modern band having the time of their lives. They’re showing off, but that’s because they can.
The trio returned back in April with ‘Right Now’, an ultra-restrained slow burner that eventually breaks into a fire-breathing rock behemoth. The complete opposite of a straightforward hit, it still made one very clear point: Haim remain slaves to the rhythm, but this time they’re leading the way.