Published on October 16th, 2013 | by Craig Silliphant0
Haim – Days Are Gone
LA sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim (rhymes with ‘time’) have been playing music since they were kids, including being in a family band with the super terrible name, Rockinhaim. Two of the sisters were in the girl group The Valli Girls who had brushes with fame via Nickelodeon and the tween movie with the awesome name, The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. After a slow-growth that included some schooling and some playing with people like Jenny Lewis, Julian Casablancas, and Cee-Lo, they made massive inroads with an EP called ‘Forever.’ It paved the way for their first full-length release, ‘Days Are Gone.’ There’s been a lot of hype around this album, so I thought I’d see how deserved all the praise was. Are Haim the second coming of pop music? Or are the gushers at the controls of the hype machine shouting too loudly?
While the album is a catchy and competent pop album, the part of ‘Days Are Gone’ that really makes it work is the production. It would have to have been very tempting for producers Ariel Rechtshaid and James Ford to throw in everything but the kitchen sink in some songs, but the sound of the record is expertly minimal, which lets the songs themselves breathe, and accents Haim’s sometimes staccato vocal delivery. Less is definitely more here. They also make excellent use of cheesy 90s R&B production references, melding dated Babyface or Organized Noise-style percussion into a workable ‘post-pop’ landscape. It adds a certain uniqueness and subtext to the album.
There are some questionably cringe-worthy lyrics here and there, but for the most part it works. You aren’t faced with an album full of absolute gems, but there are a couple of strong tracks with catchy hooks amidst a competent, highly credible pop album. No, it’s not going to turn people that hate pop music into fans, but it’s far from being a shat out, auto-tuned piece of pop garbage. Like I said, the songs are okay, the delivery is fun, but the biggest thing for music nerds to notice here, the thing that makes the album stand apart a bit, is the seamless production. I wouldn’t say that ‘Days Are Gone’ is all hype, but I’d go in without huge expectations, lest they be dashed. And after a few listens, once the bubble gum loses its flavour, you can just spit it out.