HAIM is a trio of sisters from Los Angeles, and its debut album Days Are Gone sounds like The Roches made an album influenced by new wave and R&B simultaneously.
HAIM’s indie-pop sound is funky, rich, and wicked unique. The female rock powerhouse sings love songs, but with musicianship that puts Taylor Swift to shame.
Days Are Gone has a distinctive groove to it. Each track has a touch of funk or R&B that makes it feels like an updated throwback. From the keys, to the synths, to the percussion, intricate moments are constantly popping up, giving listeners a shock of detail. “My Song 5” is full of them. There are vocal alterations, a guitar solo, a brief spell of deep operatic vocals, and an electronic breakdown.
Each track holds these surprising moments—Days Are Gone is like an audible game of I Spy.
The tracks are so wonderfully constructed that they never get old; upon each listen, a new sound or rhythm is discovered. There’s also a certain timeless nature to the songs. With a sound that’s current, yet referential to older music, HAIM isn’t likely to suffer the fate of trendier indie-pop bands: the looming inevitability of sounding dated in a year’s time.
Lyrically, HAIM is undoubtedly poppy. Most of the songs are about love, with catchy lyrics. The opening track “Falling” has a memorable and positive chorus: “Don’t stop/No, I never give up/And I never look back, just hold your head up/And if it gets rough, it’s time to get rough.” It’s set to a fun and gnarly beat led by guitar picks and percussion that seem fitting for an ’80s prom.
“Honey & I” is one of the softer tracks, especially in contrast to the grit and surprises on “My Song 5” and the rock-n-roll vibe on “The Wire.” However, it’s equally as engaging as the more danceable melodies, in part because of it’s cute lyrics: “The song can’t be played alone/It was made to be played with my honey and I.”
The album is never a straight-forward throwback, though; it doesn’t rely on only one nostalgic sound. “Running if You Call My Name” is reminiscent of Kate Bush, and “If I Could Change Your Mind” has an epic funk similar to Prince.
It’s clear that HAIM has a variety of influences, and each is heard differently at different moments, creating a new sound. It suits the band’s careless, “let’s just have fun” California style.
The band’s moniker comes from the sisters’ last name. It’s all in the family with them. The vocal harmonies and overall togetherness on the album makes Days Are Gone sound very clean and tight, most notably on the title track.
The lead vocals are sung by the middle sister, Danielle, and her voice has androgynous tendencies, but she isn’t blatantly playing with gender roles on this release. Her voice has a forceful femininity, often compared to that of Stevie Nicks.
For a debut, Days Are Gone has essentially no weaknesses. It’s so stylistically clean, fun, and well crafted that it ultimately makes a striking debut that stands out from the swells of indie-pop bands. In fact, it’s difficult to even compare HAIM to the other bands out there; there is a distinctly funky, empowering vibe that resonates even after the album has ended. This trio of Californian sisters is one to watch out for.
HAIM - Days Are Gone tracklist:
- “The Wire”
- “If I Could Change Your Mind”
- “Honey & I”
- “Don’t Save Me”
- “Days Are Gone”
- “My Song 5″
- “Go Slow”
- “Let Me Go”
- “Running If You Call My Name”