Days Are Gone is the debut offering from Danielle, Alana, and Este — the sisters Haim. It took some fits and starts before these Valley girls finally found a home as a trio. Growing up, they played in a band with their parents (Rockinhaim), and sister Danielle has played guitar with Jenny Lewis. After hearing Haim’s Forever EP — released last year — I can honestly say this debut immediately became one of my most anticipated albums of the year.
What their EP offered was a strong female, traditional rock presence with a modern flair. Given that tantalizing formula and the promise of an LP, it was like I was six years old again and it was Hanukkah. But despite my anticipation, I was already fearing the worst. Like a movie where the best lines are sadly all encapsulated into the 30-second trailer, I was worried that Haim’s EP might be their best showcase rather than an appetizer of what was to come. Fortunately, my worry was completely unfounded, and some of the most provocative and infectious offerings from Haim are to be found on Days Are Gone, which is out September 30.
Haim’s music is easily accessible for Top 40 radio, and yet at the same time, it is infinitely more intriguing than the churn-and-burn of the EDM/pop single landscape. Days Are Gone is angst-ridden, has heart, and thrives in its surprising tempos and syncopation, which are owed to its funk undertones.
Though the lyrics never reach too far, all is nearly forgiven by the fact that Danielle’s vocals are bolstered by her commanding delivery and harmonies with her sisters. Case in point, the title track. Although “Days Are Gone” lyrically deal with generalities, the unspoken emotion in the delivery makes up for any depth not explicitly uttered. Not to mention its catchiness is undeniable, and the song is currently running on repeat in my head.
The track “Honey & I” sits in the middle of the record as a marked transition track. It’s a simple, emotionally exposed track that grew legs from its innocent guitar fumblings and that has roots in a kind of Sunday-night-front-porch-jam. With rich and comforting vocals evocative of Joni Mitchell, ”Honey & I” is easily one of the album’s standouts, while another knockout is the slow-burning inferno “Let Me Go,” whose gritty guitar finale is the lit match to this kerosene-drenched track.
Haim will be touring the rest of year and into early 2014 with US and European dates, including a sold-out hometown show at the Fonda Theatre on October 16.
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