The Haim sisters self branded tagline is “we’re just ourselves”. But if you’re one third of the coolest recent pop sensation who wouldn’t want to “just” be a Haim? This summer has seen them grow notorious for their catchy pop melodies punctuated with “as much grunting as Serena Williams at a Wimbledon final” yet still with enough raw musical talent to earn them their leather jacket brownie badges and give Mick Jagger a run for his money.
Opening with single ‘Falling’ is the bad ass hair flipping glittering haze that leads straight into viral sensation ‘Forever’ which starts us off with a breezy gust of fresh Californian air. We then get the 21st and final as-close-to-perfect-as-they-can-get take of ‘The Wire’ which instrumentally is rockier, heavier & more impressive than a pair of Gene Simmons’s silver platforms which incidentally even the Haim sisters could wear and still look cool. The tip here to for all new Haimites to look out for is that the more of Este’s bass face, the more funk & soul the song has.
They may have been born this symbiotic trio of talent but that doesn’t mean that they leave any of the musical magic in fate’s hands which leads their intense control over their own work, bleeding their own watermark into every little element of craft which really shines with the intricacy of synth and percussion under one velvet curtain of flawless vocals on ‘If I Could Change Your Mind.’ The unbounding energy is relentless; there’s three of everything, harmonies, syncopation, chorus lines, it could in theory come over a little desperate and overwhelming but it’s precise and synchronised like a musical Destiny’s Child dance routine.
Even the comparatively uncoordinated crescendo of ‘Honey & I’ which melts itself into a silky chocolate box of caramelised notes has the spontaneous energy of rockstar guitar thrashing with the skill to still count as real music.
Their innate innovative nature really comes to light in the mostly electric ventures of album title track and ‘My Song 5’ which push genres to uncharted territory that no one even knew existed in the first place: think Fleetwood Mac meets TLC.
What they make up for where some claim that their style outweighs their substance is a dubstep influenced kick in the teeth breakup anthem in ‘My Song 5’; there may be nothing radical about both experimental electro or crying over boys but there’s something dark & subtle about their defiance that stands out as an unexpected & quite ambitious highlight of the album that veers away from poppy nonchalance.
But in part it’s that harmony between their breezy air of effortlessness & cool and the roaring from their amps & their energy that means they could be singing an instruction leaflet for all it matters.
They may have been criticised by some as a little empty or with the tag “vapourwave” but exerting enough rock n roll power to induce a diabetic panic attack on stage at Glastonbury and persevere through it is enough to dispel that myth.