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

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