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Album Review: Haim – Something To Tell You

4 min read
Photo: Universal Music

Este, Danielle and Alana Haim have put their fans through a laborious four year wait for new music. In that time the world is almost unrecognisable, but the LA trio’s knack for euphoric pop is something that as yet has never faltered. Something To Tell You is the triumphant return that fans were hoping would have come sooner, but genius cannot be rushed – it’s more than worth the wait.

 Commencing proceedings is Want You Back, the first indication of just how much time Haim have spent listening to Cheryl Crow records in their time off. The heart-warming familiarity of Danielle Haim’s voice welcome listeners back into the sister’s collective arms. Haim are so often compared to Fleetwood Mac for their melodic harmonies, but they have shed the cloak of comparison to cement such a style as inherently their own.

The collective confidence of Haim as a world-conquering band is a standout feature throughout Something To Tell You. For myself who witnessed their first ever single release and fledgling tour, this second record spurs a surge of pride and joy by the bucketload. Watching a band go from the smallest of starts to the hugest of victories in the space of just 6 years is indescribable in its happiness.

Nothing’s Wrong is nothing short of genius. Straight out of the golden age of 90s teen movies, it could have easily soundtracked the final scene from The Breakfast Club. Raise a fist to the sky for Haim! The layering of Danielle, Este and Alana’s respective voices transcends reality a little bit, sending warm shivers through your body. The classic movie soundtrack feel to Little Of Your Love will have listeners dreaming that Haim: The Movie was a reality, following the sisters hanging out in diners and playing tunes sweeter than heaven. Belinda Carlisle once sang about heaven being a place on earth, and I reckon it’s finally a reality thanks to Haim.

No one will be quite ready for Ready For You as it sees Haim at their more experimental. Previously, My Song 5 veered a little too far away from their comfort zone – but this well-rounded foray manages to retain the retro heart that pumps throughout STTY. The album’s eponymous track Something To Tell You begins at a slower pace, but quickly develops into a rhythmic belter that will no doubt see Haim banging their now iconic drums with gusto. By showing their subtler side, Haim dictate the pace of this record from start to finish, it’s their record on their terms. Long-time producer Ariel Rechtshaid continues to bring out the best in Haim, a partnership that is so complimentary of one another it is hard to think of the two ever being apart.

The backing vocals throughout You Never Knew are a throwback and progression from past fan-favourite Better Off, a subtle link that bridges together all of Haim’s work to date. If you’re ever lucky enough to date a Haim sister, you better not keep her waiting when it comes to affection or adoration – because they will write a gorgeous pop song about you. Each Haim sister is a powerhouse percussionist, and Kept Me Crying is testament to how drums play an important part in their writing process. Their near primal urge for giving drums centre stage factors into so much more than just their epic live shows, it’s the heart of every Haim song.

As much as every track on STTY is a highlight, Found It In Silence is just that little bit more of one. Opening with violent violins that have Carly Rae Jepsen quaking in her boots, this track has Haim unleashing everything they have in one fell swoop of perfection. Some five hours after the initial listen, the chorus will remain embedded in ears, minds and dancing feet. Whereas their first record was focused on living up to high expectation, STTY is all about fun and Haim sound to be having the time of their lives.

The comparisons between Haim and TLC are tiresome, but on Walking Away it seems the band have decided to give the people what they want in the form of an R&B tinged song. Hopefully it puts to bed such comments, pacifying those who pass up the chance to comment on the band’s individuality in favour of lukewarm takes. No one makes music quite like Haim and as such, they should be credited for their unique efforts.

The closing moments of an incredible album are always bittersweet, as the intro to Right Now begins people will probably already be reaching to begin STTY all over again. Recorded in their home studio, it’s Haim at their least polished and perfected but is stronger for it. There is a vulnerable heartfelt side to each sister, prevalent throughout this no frills effort.

Final track Night So Long was a highlight of Haim’s secret London show, mostly because it was played four times before being perfected. This aside, Nights So Long indulges the self-doubt many will find themselves crippled by at some point in life. Loneliness is addictive, self-pity comforting, and now there is a warm embracing song to keep you company should you find yourself going through it.

The past few years have been tough on people for a lot of reasons, and I’m not suggesting that Something To Tell You can heal the world, but it has made it feel slightly more remarkable and lovely even if for a brief period. The highs are stratospheric, the lower moments more about believing in inner strength. The world is in turmoil, but prescribe yourself Haim’s second album and watch as the skies clear even if just for a little while.