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If the title of their new album Days Are Gone is any indication as to how HAIM feel about their music, they needn’t worry, because it has almost certainly cemented their place on the proverbial map. Arguably the best album of the year, it is definitely one that you will be hearing a lot more of over the next few months – whether it’s on the radio or your housemate singing it in the shower. HAIM are set to explode. I would probably even go so far as to say that their songs are as addictive as GTA V, a game I think we’ve all played a little too obsessively over the past few months.
Now, if, like me, you’ve been living under a rock for a while and are relatively new to HAIM’s massive success of late, you may be asking yourself “Who are they?”, “What does HAIM even mean?”, “What are they even about?”. Well, the simple answer is that HAIM is a band made up of three sisters from California – Danielle, Este and Alana – all with the surname Haim. Not forgetting their drummer Dash Hutton, previously a member of Los Angeles bands Wires on Fire and Slang Chicken.
Formerly members of the band Rockinhaim that they formed with their parents as children, HAIM were no strangers to performance, often singing covers of songs by the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Eagles – influences that are still evident in their music today. If I Could Change Your Mind certainly resonates with the Eagles hit Lyin’ Eyes, whilst somehow containing 80s electric pop ‘n’ rock influences that we often associate with Prince and the Eurythmics.
It is hard to associate HAIM with one particular sound. Their music has been described as “nu-folk-meets-nineties-R&B”, drawing their inspiration most strongly from Fleetwood Mac, but to me their music seems too electric for any direct comparisons. There are a whole host of influences all drawn into one vibrant setting, without seeming too cluttered. It’s a difficult mix, but it most certainly pays off. The entire album seems so present, which is surprising considering their roots are ingrained so deeply in the past. A few critics have dubbed some of HAIM’s previous work “inconsequential,” however – something that the band seem to be aware of in The Wire when they sing “You know I’m bad at communication, it is the hardest thing for me to do.” But, rather than a flaw, I see this to evoke a convincing recreation of the passive-aggressive indecision that young people seem to have embodied today.
Definitely not one to be ignored, Days are Gone is one of the most exciting new albums of recent years – an especially difficult feat when we consider the great year 2013 has been for music, with albums like Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, Kanye West’s provocative Yeezus and the much-anticipated return of David Bowie. HAIM have certainly come a long way since they featured on the soundtrack for The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop for a long time.