We've 'Something to Tell You': you're making a Haims of it

Wed, Jul 5, 2017, 14:17


Something to tell You




Taking a softly, softly approach, San Fernando Valley band Haim – sisters Este (bass), Alana (guitar/keyboards), Danielle Haim (guitars/vocals), and Dash Hutton (drums) – have taken four years to follow up their debut album, Days are Gone.

That album became a benchmark for how to apply a lick of gloss paint to 1980s/1990s pop music; not since the giddy days of MT USA and beyond were names such as Pat Benatar, Laura Branigan, Cyndi Lauper and Debbie Gibson bandied about with such eagerness. Factor in broader strokes of Stevie Nicks and lighter shades of Alanis Morissette, and you had music that sounded so American it had stars and stripes oozing from every note.

Haim, however, had something extra in their arsenal: just when you thought it was going to get cheesier than a shed load of Easi Singles, you were slam-dunked with killer pop hooks and detailed musicianship.

Days are Gone is, as with most debuts, a mixture of shots in the dark and several years spent processing experiences; the musicianship is rarely more than proficient but excitement and enthusiasm bring it over the line. Something to Tell You retains that high degree of enthusiasm, but the band's songcraft is much better..

Recorded with long-time collaborator/friend Ariel Rechtshaid and former Vampire Weekend member and producer Rostam Batmanglij, Haim expertly bridge the gap between pristine pop, commercial soul and wistful R&B.

Musically, it’s all very shiny, summery and sunny, lyrically less so. If the nagging flaw is that the whole isn’t as whip-smart as some of its constituent parts (tunes such as Want you Back, Little of Your Love, Something to Tell You, Kept Me Crying and Walking Away evoke pitch meetings in songwriting rooms, with varying degrees of success), then it’s certainly not for the want of aiming very high indeed.