HAIM – Something To Tell You Review 

It’s been four years since Este, Danielle and Alana, aka Haim, released their debut album ‘Days Are Gone’, almost instantly crafting a distinctly recognizable sound. Now, after relentless touring and memorable festival appearances, the trio return with their much anticipated second full-length album ‘Something To Tell You’. 

Working once again with Ariel Rechtshaid, as well as with the added input of Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij and musicians Greg Leisz and Lenny Castro, the message Haim are so desperate to share is wonderfully bitter-edged. 

Returning to their love of seventies swaggering guitar lines, breezy harmonies and touches of folk-ish elements, not to mention a healthy mix of the snarled gloss lips and pointed stares of the band’s R&B idols, the message is clear – someone tried to break Haim’s heart, but these sisters are not about to let that stop them. 

Opener ‘Want You Back’ starts things off comfortably within Haim’s signature punchy multi-part harmony battleground, with all its finger-snapping catchiness. Rechtshaid’s production crafts a lush, expansive sound that feels as equally cinematic as it does crawling out of a tent in the early hours still clutching the remnants of a snakebite. 

Things continue in a polished cinematic feel through ‘Nothing’s Wrong’, which takes Haim’s retro-leaning and adds just a little more seventies soft rock – if that’s even possible. 

Where ‘Want You Back’, ‘Nothing Wrong’ and ‘Kept Me Crying’ brood Stevie Nicks style as the sisters sing through the struggles of relationships, though lyrics focus on an external suffering rather than anything too introverted, ‘Little Of Your Love’ takes the album’s heartache themes and skips along in a burst of hope fuelled, almost boastful, sunshine, like the retro intro to a much-loved Los Angeles TV show. Not too surprising as the track was originally meant for the soundtrack of Amy Schumer’s movie Trainwreck.

Though most tracks stay within the band’s comfort zone – ie luscious harmonies and soft rock licks – Haim’s sophomore album doesn’t stay exclusively within the era of denim flares and tinted sunglasses. ‘Ready For You’ and title track ‘Something To Tell You’ juts Haim’s tough-girl stance a step towards the eighties. While ‘Walking Away’ whispers with the feel of a mid-nineties R&B classic. Even the soulful ‘You Never Knew’, returning mostly to the soft sounds of warped vinyl and sepia-toned Polaroids, has the slightest hint of 1984’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’.

Not every track is instantly likable. Lovelorn, stripped back, power ballads such as closer ‘Night So Long’, see’s Danielle’s sparse vocal build, letting go of the bitterness that builds throughout ‘Something To Tell You’ before the album comes to its abrupt end, and ‘Found It In Silence’, ironically turning up the strings and pushes things forwards towards the edge of a tense crescendo, never quite hit home. 

Album highlights are without a doubt its ludicrously catchy, strutting singles, ‘Right Now’ and ‘Want You Back’, which pulse with simmering aggression, exuding just the right amount of ‘frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn’ amongst the trio’s harmonies to draw you ever closer to recreating a Destiny’s Child dance routine on your walk to the corner shop.

Though it’s not just harmonies that are layered into each track. Haim moves towards a more surefooted inclination, seeming to dampen just a little of the eclectic song structures that fuelled their debut, there are still some interesting effects. Snippets of synths clash lightly with the squeak of special effects to create a captivating complexity to the band’s familiar sound. Overall ‘Something To Tell You’ is a collection of carefully crafted melancholic tracks that take Haim’s vintage style and hypnotic harmonies into an ever more slick production. 

HAIM – Something To Tell You = 8/10

Hayley Miller

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