This Weeks Music Video with St. Vincent, Stormzy, U2, The Horrors, HAIM, The Shins, Maggie Rogers and Spoon

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

This Weeks Music Video with Radiohead, HAIM, Everything Everything, The War On Drugs, Portugal. The Man & Chris Cornell

Single Review – HAIM – Right Now

HAIM are an American pop rock band formed by three sisters. Danielle Haim as the lead vocalist with the other switching up depending on the song, and guitarist. Alana Haim plays the keyboard, the guitar and and Este Haim is on the bass and takes care of the harmonies. Haim means ‘Life’ in Hebrew. After performing with a few groups, the sister founded ‘HAIM’ in 2007 but they didn’t consider it a serious career yet after releasing their first EP ‘Forever’ and performing at the ‘South by Southwest’ Festival they scored a deal with Polydor Records and a management deal with Roc Nation in 2012. They released their debut album ‘Days Are Gone’ in September 2013 and they just confirmed their long awaited new album, called ‘Something To Tell You’, will be released on July 7 this year. 

HAIM debuted their new song ‘Right Now’, which will be part of the album, and it’s great. This track is different from their rockier previous songs and is a ballad a of broken promises, misplaced hope and a strong backbone. The minimalist arrangement, the drums and guitars sound absolutely huge and achieve a perfect harmony. The lyrics are right to the point and will give you goose bumps and the vocals just touch a part of you we mostly want to keep hidden deep down. The arrangement keeps hinting that it’s going to build to this huge rock song, but your expectations won’t be met, the music perfectly reflects the lyrics which are all about promises never fulfilled. A very brave choice on their part.

There also is a pinch of irony in the text. The lover had her ‘feeling foolish for ever thinking this could be the one.’ Danielle keeps singing ‘I wasn’t even in the running, already had your mind made up. You left me searching for the reason, why’d you leave, left me in the dust’. But then, in the chorus, and presumably a while later when she was starting to make a sense of what happened and getting over it this person comes back! ‘And now you’re saying that you need me babe, (Right now, right now) and now you’re saying that you love me, love me babe (Right now, right now)…’ 

She proceeds remembering how she was wronged and hurt, how she put everything on the table and how she had to leave empty-handed. ‘Gave you my love, thought I could trust you. You let me down at every turn. You had me hanging on a dream you never believed. You gave me your word’. So, even if the betraying lover is trying to come back now, she’s not having it. She’s strong, she is taking care of herself: ‘Finally on the other side now and I could see for miles…’ Basically she realises that what this person is doing is too little, too late and sings: ‘Saying that you need me, not now, not now. I know you heard me through an open window, whispers can’t read to your ear, whispers sounded so clear’.

This will be an exciting year for HAIM and they definitely are a band to keep an eye on. In the summer the band will be very busy on the Festival circuit all over the world and you can see them in the UK at Glastonbury Festival, Reading, Leads and many more. We can already hear the crowd singing ‘Right now, Right now’!

Lea Fabbrini 

 

Single Review – HAIM – Want You Back

Four years after the release of the band’s debut album ‘Day’s Are Gone’ Haim return with new single ‘Want You Back’ ahead of their second album ‘Something To Tell You’ due for release July 7. Danielle’s lead vocal mixed with Este and Alana’s backing maintains the band’s signature breezy summer harmonies. Though in no way a departure from the band’s previous releases ‘Want You Back’ shows Haim building on their addictive sound. Producer Ariel Rechtshaid once again helping create a track with an effortlessly stripped back 90’s alt atmosphere.

Hayley Miller

Really Good Remixes – Tame Impala – Cause I’m A Man (HAIM Remix)

Tame Impala’s single from their wondrous album Currents has been reimagined in an ever heavier and deeper way by HAIM with the group pulling up the percussion, adding added distortion to it and making it more prominent and adding the sort of heavy warping and shifting techniques Kevin Parker used and on much of the rest of the album and in this version would fit right in on the album too. The vocals from Danielle Haim can’t reach the falsetto peaks that Parker’s can, but she put her own spin on it in keeping with the lowered depths of the song and in this sense the song works in it’s own right.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review and New Video – Ronya – Work Harder

Ronya is a British-Finnish artist described as alt-pop in her style and who is one of the leading prospects in her native Finland. Following on from her 2012 debut album The key is the Key she has since signed with independent Helsinki label Cocoa Music and has since unveiled singles such as ‘Flame’ in February and now ‘Work Harder’; a faithful piece of luscious and infectious 80’s pop with similarities to the likes of HAIM and Robyn. Speaking of the track she said that it’s a “reflection on my journey as an artist and an individual – but most importantly it’s a reminder to myself and to anyone working towards their goals and dreams: keep going no matter what – it’s only the beginning” The track certainly carries that optimistic message on a musical level too, with he light but purposeful vocal set around the neatly arranged riffs, synth chords, rumbling bass line and crisp percussion. This track is a seamless piece of stylish retro synth-pop that really sets a precedent for an upcoming second studio album next year.

This Week’s Music Video with Coldplay, Haim feat A$AP Ferg, The War On Drugs and M83

Coldplay – True Love

 

Haim feat. A$AP Ferg – My Song 5

 

The War On Drugs – Under The Pressure

 

M83 – Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The Sun

This Weeks Music Video

This Weeks Music Video. From Haim with If I Could Change Your Mind, Damon Albarn with Lonely Press Play, Kings of Leon with Temple and Arctic Monkeys with Arabella

HAIM – Days Are Gone Review

They have been the band on everyone’s lips for various reasons for a whole year now and it was stepped up a gear when they were announced as the winners of the BBC’s sound of 2013 poll. That only piles the pressure on really. When there is always very credible acts taking up the lower rankings of the poll and all this when they had only released a handful of songs. This therefore left every bit of new material under intense scrutiny and though its part and parcel of being in a popular band, they’ve used it positively. Almost as a marketing strategy. Their live performances with Glastonbury being a real opportunity for them; they shone as crowd pleasers. Their more recent singles have only seen them climb the charts while not altering the sound to do such a thing. Those listening have altered their tastes. But of course it’s well-known that just because a band has mainstream appraisal or decent chart showings doesn’t mean that their music is challenging the norms, enhancing existing sounds or being innovative in general. That’s the question with HAIM that I’m asking.

‘The Wire’ is a slight departure from their initial sound with more isolated and turned up instrumentals. The guitars reverbing slightly, with the bass unrelenting and forming the rhythmic foundations of the song. Its by no means buried under the other instrumentals. They don’t have vocals that are going to knock you out either but, they utilise them to more than their best with the combinations of their vocals, shifting them and introducing harmonies over that. The light layers of synth on the chorus add to the dimensions the song has. Its catchy and rhythmic but its not a raging rock song either. It is certainly more than a bit of indie pop. One issue with this is maybe the drawn out part towards the end with unnecessary effects on the vocals amongst other things and perhaps they got a little carried away there but it’s part of their first album after all so such mistakes will be there. ‘Don’t Save Me’ is one of the songs to capture everyone’s initial attention back late last year. Again, the bass is the driving force of the song and leaks out the tune while the echoed percussion adds to the sense of space along with the synths whirring behind the bass line. The tinge of echo on the vocal too, adds to that sense of space being created about what is another catchy song. Its hooks in melodies in the percussion and the bass while the synths harmonise everything along with the backing vocals too. There is a lot going on this song but its been recorded with that idea of leaving space with each musical element and makes for a happy compromise between style and substance.

‘Forever’ opens with feathered synths sounds and light vocal harmonies to stretch the music out with more room for other elements like the highly isolated riff and bass line that throws the rhythm and melody in your face. Maintaining this for the winding up of sound towards the final chorus the riff allows for more and more sounds to pile on to it due to its solidity garnered from the way it was recorded. ‘Falling’ is a much more atmospheric affair with the subtle suggestions of synth sounds and the isolated bass line. Much space is left for them to make it a largely vocal driven track with other elements and sounds following from it. This allows for great implosions of sound into the chorus and a subsequent winding down of sound from it too which keeps the song a little less predictable in terms of song progression. ‘Days Are Gone’ is again built around the bass, but loses that trait at times for shifts to vocal and synth driven parts. The songs hook is formed from the typical vocal harmonies on the chorus and its atmospheric quality just about pulls it together. ‘Let Me Go’ is the songs slow ballad. The vocal trio and very little else evokes the calm and considered feel but it then uses percussion and synths to steadily build up the volume and scope of the song while retaining its dramatic quality from what isn’t being done in the song. It is a great piece of production. The whole album has its moments in that respect and the engines of some of the songs is peculiar, but often works with the room they give each song to breathe and expand. The hooks and rhythms of most of the songs are always contrasted within by the lightly washed out sound going on in conjunction with it and they’ve made both styles work off each other. I think it has pretty much lived up to all the attention and coverage and they seem to have a good grasp of recording methods and structural techniques to enhance their songs which is something that will only grow from here. It does have its weak spots though and isn’t a massive shake up of currents sounds, but they’ve been tweaked and experimented with and such optimism should only be celebrated. Not attacked for sounding different.

HAIM – Days Are Gone = 8/10

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Images from fault-magazine.com / http://en.wikipedia.org