Haim – Days Are Gone
The journalistic world is filled with neophiles. It’s an easy and lazy way of expressing an opinion without actually engaging your brain. Oasis are the new Beatles. Messi is the new Maradona. Christopher Nolan is the new James Cameron. Even that old fashion adage: dressing an attractive person in an absurd array of utterly impractical fabrics is the new black. And so on…
This technique is a win-win scenario. It creates an easy mental image for the reader whilst saving the journalist swathes of time that could be better spent on drinking or leering at that pretty new girl from accounts. Or both. Whatever.
Of course the detriment of this sort of laziness (I mean why bother writing 300 words on how great something is, when you can just lazily shoehorn it into comparison with another good thing?) is that in the subjective world of the arts, a connection one man makes is by no means a factual basis.
Anyhow it is into this world of lethargic parallels that we find the hottest band of the moment, Haim. The three sisters kicked the year off by winning the BBC’s prestigious Sound of 2013 poll, an annual list comprising the year’s most likely breakthrough artist (of course, given the nature of success and exposure, the whole idea is a little self-perpetuating, but that’s for another day…). They burst onto the scene with two fantastic singles in Fallen (below) and Forever, both released towards the end of 2012, a year in which they supported Florence & The Machine and Mumford & Sons.
Their sound, a throwback to the 80’s, adorned with breathy, strong female vocals have drawn instant and flattering comparisons with Fleetwood Mac. To be fair, this is a likeness the band have done little to dispel with live covers of Mick & co’s Hold Me and Oh Well, although neither appear on this album. However for me, the influences of Kate Bush, Genesis and perhaps even Duran Duran are almost as strong, while if I was being uncharitable I might point out that third track The Wire brings back the occasional painful memory of Shania Twain.
That’s not to say that the whole thing sounds like the sort of thing your parents used to listen to on long car journeys. My Song 5, for example, probably has as much in common with Destiny’s Child as anything, but generally the spectre of Stevie Nicks looms large over Danielle Haim’s vocals. And that’s no bad thing.
Indeed given the band’s obvious knack for a tune, combined with the fact that they don’t so much wear their influences on their sleeves so much as get entire outfits made out of them, make it very difficult not to proclaim Haim as “The New Fleetwood Mac”. However we won’t stoop so low.
For now we will just say that they are a great pop band and that the fantasticly catchy Days Are Gone is probably going to propel them into everyone’s lives quicker than you can say Fleetwood M…
By Harry Harland
Days Are Gone is released on Monday 30th September