Late last year, alternative indie band Haim released their debut album Days Are Gone and it did very well, going straight to number 1 in the UK. The Haim sisters having promoted their few singles like hell for months, it all finally paid off with a very solid poppy album with a unique, genre-bending sound to it.
The album opens with “Falling”, the third single released with it, and it is just as catchy as it should be: it’s an uplifting disco/pop tune with a Kate Bush-esque feel to it which starts things off in style. “Forever” follows, the band’s lead single from the album, and with its cleverly layered beat, it’s kickass bass-line and its fast-paced lyrics, it delivers some Daft Punk-lite glam and a great chorus.
Another single, “The Wire” is next and, after a bluesier start, it develops into a fun, cute and cool pop track complete with a memorable chorus. It’s the closest the band comes to sounding like Genesis and I mean this in the best possible way. It’s got that sweet 80’s beat but with an added modern freshness, a new approach altogether. This all makes for a perfect start to a debut album.
A little too perfect, even…
You’ll see why in a minute.
The fourth song, “If I Could Change Your Mind”, isn’t particularly catchy but it’s certainly atmospheric plus it’s got a really nice bass-line courtesy of the energetic and hugely talented Este Haim. As for “Honey & I”, it’s a much sweeter, slow-burning song but it delivers nonetheless.
Another single, “Don’t Save Me”, is next and it’s another fun song although with more bittersweet lyrics. The titular track “Days Are Gone” follows and brings in a moodier vibe while singer Danielle lets her sisters join in a bit more. It’s a solid, soulful tune with an R&B undertone. The undertone in question becomes a more prominent part of the album soon enough, however, in the song “My Song 5” for example, which is very different than most of the songs that came before it in that it relies much more on its (inventive) beat. It builds up to some welcome lighter moments.
Now, from there onwards, Days Are Gone kind of loses a bit of steam. Hence the remark I made earlier about the band starting off the album a little too strong. Perhaps spreading out the singles over the entire album instead of cramming all the good stuff early on would have been a better strategic move.
That said, there’s still some decent stuff to come.
“Go Slow” lives up to its name by being a much more mellow track. It once again evokes Kate Bush a little but the song is unfortunately not too memorable. “Let Me Go” is another slower track, a love song which eventually builds-up to a thumping beat, almost turning it into a march. The song boasts some terrific vocal work from Danielle Haim. Finally, we have “Running If You Call My Name”, a very similar song to “Let Me Go”, with a comparable vibe, and a worthy chorus.
Now, as anti-climactic as the album is in the way it develops, Days Are Gone is still well worth a listen. You’ve got a handful of terrific pop songs in there and you can tell there’s potential to build on this promising original sound Haim have somehow put together. With a tad more attitude and consistency, the band’s next album definitely has the potential to be ground-breaking.
As it stands, this debut album is no masterpiece but most of it works really well and convincingly suggests that Haim is a band to look out for in the future.
That’s 3 strong Ziggies out of 5.