Haim: Days Are Gone
Haim’s debut album comes highly anticipated after the release of four critically-acclaimed singles over the past two years. And Days Are Gone does not disappoint. The album shows traces of influences from later Fleetwood Mac, ’80s pop, R&B, and modern indie rock, but it’s clear that the focus is on the great songwriting of sisters Alana, Danielle, and Este Haim (which rhymes with “time” not “tame”). Stylistic elements aside, the songs on Days Are Gone are all substance. The melodies are classic and familiar, the chords are interesting, and the lyrics are simple but effective. The sisters sing with power and personality, which gives these songs a sense of enthusiasm and sincerity often missing from indie pop records today. Particularly strong on the album are the vocal rhythms, which is not something one often pays much attention to on an album. But on songs like “Honey & I,” “Don’t Save Me,” and “The Wire,” among others, the vocals are delivered with a crisp percussive quality that drive the tracks forward and give the band a distinct style.
The production, though influenced by the late ’80s, mostly stay out of the way. And smartly so, as the songs are strong enough to stand on their own. Instead of cluttering the tracks with sonic allusions to vintage styles, the producers (which include Ariel Rechtshaid, Ludwig Göransson, and James Ford along with the sisters) limit themselves to small touches of gated reverb on the drums and effects on the guitar. For the most part, the arrangements are simple and stripped-down, allowing the girls’ songs and vocals to shine through.