HAIM are a band quickly establishing themselves internationally as a tour de force of shiny, retro music. Having gathered a pretty reasonable following since their ‘Forever’ EP in 2012, many pairs of eyes were following the band for the release of their debut album ‘Days Are Gone’, with many eager to hear what they had in store on this much anticipated release.
Opening track Falling is a sentiment to the sound maintained throughout the entirety of this album – a sparkling and perfected form of retro indie-pop. A catchy chorus provides an interesting aspect, alongside a lot of well thought out poppy hooks to keep the ear interested. Forever offers up another similar musical situation, with a big catchy chorus surrounded by the polished glam of HAIM’s retro sound, but it doesn’t quite stray far enough from the sound of Falling to provide any noticeable individual traits.
Honey & I gives us something a little different. Lively, bursting with energy and filled with all the pop hooks that HAIM promise, it’s a refreshing and more authentic moment from the band, and most certainly a highlight of the album. My Song 5 is another perfectly timed diversion from the polished retro sound. A grotty synth underlines what is an altogether darker affair. Although still as catchy as ever, HAIM show us how versatile they are with this unexpected gem, offering a glimpse at their dark side, and leaving the listener wanting more.
Let Me Go finally sees a juxtaposition of both the styles HAIM have displayed so far, with a combination of their sparkly retro sound and their darker side. A strong rhythm carries the simple but effective melody and harmony, and a dirty guitar riff highlights the step away from the synthy sheen on their other tunes. Finishing up with the track Running If You Call My Name, HAIM end ‘Days Are Gone’ on an ever so slightly more serious note. Some big harmonies carry an effective chorus, underlined with an interesting layering of synth and guitar riffs, as well as a strong rhythmic line. HAIM have here another perfect example of their more than adequate ability to layer ideas to construct a compelling effect.
HAIM clearly know how to compile an album. Through ‘Days Are Gone’, they have proven that they are capable of producing a quality full length work. Although the highly perfected music they produce can grow tiring, they counteract this with some curve-balls as can be seen with tracks like My Song 5 and Let Me Go, drawing back in those listeners that may have found themselves losing interest in their highly polished sound. HAIM probably won’t be for everyone, but it will be certain that with ‘Days Are Gone’ behind them their fan base is sure to begin to grow, as testament to this mature and well put together debut album.