The debut album from the sister group HAIM was one of the most talked about releases this year thanks to the meteoric rise of the sister group that included appearances at two of the year’s most important summer festivals, Chicago’s Lollapalooza and Philly’s Made In America. All before releasing an album.
The first two tracks, “Falling” and “Forever,” sound an awful lot like the sound that The Strokes adopted for their latest album (Comedown Machine) had it but with a better delivery than what we got from the New York band. They’re gloomier tracks that build up to a strong, catchy choruses. As NPR noted of a Geoff Barrow remark, the delivery of “The Wire” does bring to mind Shania Twain’s sass and signature sound at her peak (especially during the line “I know that you’re gonna be OK anyway”) but this track (check the chorus and closing minute) also reminded me of the production in New Jack Swing era-Michael Jackson.
The following track, “If I Could Change Your Mind,” sounds very 80’s, almost as if it were presented to you by Prince and his entourage during their heyday. “Honey & I” is a bit more difficult to classify; it feels like if they took “That’s What I Like About You” and stripped it of its pep and slows down the tempo resulting in what you’d expect a modern Fleetwood Mac song would sound like. Not a bad song but definitely falling more on the “deep cut” category. “Don’t Save Me” has an anthemic vibe with its faster tempo and infectious clapping.
“Days Are Gone” is a good electronic track. The guitar picking really catches your ear and the synth riff is peculiar but it works. “My Song 5” really sticks out compared to the rest of the album with its dark and heavy production. The guitar riff is awesome while the song itself sounds a bit like a Jack White production with R&B/Pop undertones. The following song, “Go Slow,” must’ve started out with just the song title and they went from there. I can’t say I like this track but then again, maybe it’s just not aimed for someone like me.
“Let Me Go” is just plain cool. The sisters harmonize, a profession of love is made, and the drumming will draw you in immediately. “Running If You Call My Name” is a decent track driven by a good keyboard riff and a strong chorus.
It’s hard to hear the resulting product from a band that’s generating a lot of buzz and not think immediately that either you’re digging it because others said you’d like it or you hate it because everyone loves it. The thing is, sometimes the music is just that good that you just can’t help but like it no matter what the public/blogosphere assessment may be, and luckily for us, HAIM are a perfect example of a band living up to the hype.
Key Tracks: “Falling,” “Forever,” “The Wire,” “My Song 5,” “Let Me Go”