Sunday, September 29, 2013

Album Review | HAIM - Days Are Gone

HAIM might as well be the new word for hype, as Danielle, Este, and Alana -- the Haim sisters --have picked up roaring (and deserved) accolades, starting with the release of "Forever" and "Don't Save Me" in 2012, and continuing with "Falling" and "The Wire" in 2013, the latter which begins similarly to The Eagles' "Heartache Tonight." (Seriously, though: is that simply a nod, or a blatant rip-off? I wanna know.)

And this is the way the game is played these days -- flirt with an EP, bring roses to the door with more "singles," and then finally release a full-length album, with the hope that you haven't suffocated your targeted audience's attention span. The problem with this marketing -- if you want to call it that (and sadly, music is basically strategic bullshit in 2013) -- is that often we're given the best of what is to come, and for many, HAIM's debut LP, Days Are Gone, is going to be old news.

Of course, that doesn't change the instant charm of "Forever" or "Falling," both songs being unquestioned gems on this album, but it does make the majority of the "new" material, like "If I Could Change Your Mind" and "Honey & I," seem pedestrian, with the exception of the title track, which is playfully pleasant, and "My Song 5," which isn't calculated and shows grit.

We're left with three songs to finish the album. The first is "Go Slow," which was released previously and, again, gives a strong nod to a classic song, this time to Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More." The version on Days Are Gone sounds slightly re-worked, or perhaps the vocals have simply been re-mixed. Whatever the case, it's still killer; unfortunately, the final two unreleased songs, "Let Me Go" and "Running If You Call My Name," both lack a killer punch, and fail to continue any momentum that has been built.

I'll admit that my opinion is highly based on what I've heard previously (I think that's obvious, but it's important to note, as I highly respect the talent here, which I can assure you is legit in a live setting).

Which, of course, begs the question: Can an album leave a mark on a listener when he or she has already heard its best parts? I guess we'll have to see, and if this is your first introduction to HAIM, you're likely to be impressed. But gone are the days of surprises as we cradle toward even more immediacy, and a feeling persists: that less teasing could have meant so much more for Days Are Gone.