“Finally!” wept thousands of music fans when, in July, Haim announced the September release of their debut record Days Are Gone. Yes, its been a year and a half since the trio of sisters from LA first released their widely adored Forever EP and stole the hearts of indie, pop and rock fans alike all over the globe. In that time, three more enticingly catchy singles were gifted to us with promises of a full length LP intended for Spring this year. Indeed then, as the last quarter of the year beckons, expectancy and apprehension have only risen for fans meaning those Haim sisters have some serious impressing to do. So here we arrive at hype o’clock, does Days Are Gone cut the mustard?
Boldly, the album begins with three of its preceding singles. Its a fierce introduction to the record with album opener Falling serving as an explosive start to proceedings, with its jaunty guitar lines, juttering bassline, atmospheric synths and insatiable vocal performances and harmonies the Haim girls have been acclaimed for. Following tracks Forever and latest single The Wire do a service in really reeling the listener in with 80’s style pop sensibilities that are still a thrill to listen to after being two particular fan favourites.
A definite pop influence is noticeable elsewhere on the LP, though its by no means typical and certainly not boring thanks to the band’s unique approach of tackling genres with a fundamental band set up. Title track Days Are Gone holds listeners in with an alluring beat, echoed piano and a chorus that brings to mind the R&B stylings of 90’s classic girl group Destiny’s Child whilst My Song 5 continues this theme with a hip-hop influenced instrumental that really wouldn’t go out of place on a Beyonce record.
Versatility is not in short supply however as elsewhere on the record, the band’s more instrumental side is embraced. Go Slow with its stop start rhythms and the savage synth pop of If I Could Change Your Mind both could have been the kind of 80’s radio hits that get old. Its last year’s killer single Don’t Save Me that really steals the show blending elements of guitar driven classic rock with Stevie Nicks style vocals and modern synth pop chorus that would make French legends connoisseurs Phoenix green with envy.
There is an underlying sense of heartbreak throughout Days Are Gone for which singer Danielle Haim can be credited for. Forever followed the ending of a relationship that once seemed to be made to be, a theme further explored on the broody Let Me Go where the lines “I gave you everything I could give, you try to take, and you try to make, take all everything you can.” detail an abusive partner that proves difficult to leave. Its the attacking and passionate vocals that Danielle and sisters Este and Alana deliver on these songs that really make them shine, making for impressively dramatic moments that skilfully avoid cringiness.
Leaving your fans waiting for material is a dangerous game that not many artists come out the better side of. Days Are Gone, however is the prime example of how to do it in style. The songs that bought them acclaim somehow flourish under the care and attention Haim have evidently put into their debut, with newer songs exceeding expectations. Its the debut album all bands dream of having and very few realise: bold, unique, revealing and most importantly, a work of art that holds a longevity that will have future generations coming back to try. However many years the band make us wait for a follow up, Days Are Gone will continue to quench the thirst and if its anything to go by, whatever comes next won’t disappoint either.
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