The band Haim dropped their debut album, Days Are Gone, on September 30, and it has been a long time coming. Haim, made up of three LA sisters and a mister, has been quite the buzz-worthy band lately, especially considering the fact that they had only released five songs up to this point, the first ones being released in October of 2012. Over the past year, they have been making the rounds opening up for artists such as Rihanna, Florence and the Machine, and Beyonce, while also playing seemingly every recent summer music fest.
With this attention and growing list of accomplishments, you would think that Haim is releasing their third or fourth album. All this is only the build up to their first full-length album, Days Are Gone, released into a sea of expectations about what the band will do next.
I've liked Haim for a while, and I thought I knew what to expect from their first album-an upbeat indie rock sound. However, upon first listen, it seems like Haim is straying away from their early sound established by the Forever EP and initial singles, and moving deeper into the realm of R&B and pop.
Haim opens up Days Are Gone with the echoing drums of one of their original singles, "Falling." The song builds excitement on the dance-worthy beats, hook-laden, bass-heavy lines that Haim has used in the past. But the album takes a surprising turn, moving on to one of Haim's biggest singles to date, "Forever," with a reworked twist. Instead of the lead singer, Danielle's, expressive vocals in the original recording, they are replaced, with what seems to be an overly produced, reverb-heavy version of what once was. With this being the second track and their breakout single, the modification came as a surprise, but then after having listened to the whole song, the processed vocals emerged as a theme pushing further in the R&B direction.
Haim creates a sense of familiarity with their first three tracks on the album being versions of ones that have been released in the past year, "Falling," "Forever" and "The Wire." The first new song on Days Are Gone, however, "If I Could Change Your Mind," clearly displays the new R&B sound that is evident in the rest of the album.
With harmonies that could belong in a Destiny's Child song, chirpy pop synths, and percussion to boot, Haim definitely makes their influences clear. In "My Song 5," the combination of '90s pop melodies and muted instrumentation creates a strangely cohesive mixture of Sleigh Bells and early Justin Timberlake, making it one of the strongest of their new tracks on the album. Songs like "Running If You Call My Name," and "Let Me Go," both demonstrate Haim's great appreciation for, and emphasis on the percussion, that stems from the three sisters' early start with the drums.
The one song that was the most surprising on the album was the title track, "Days Are Gone." Apparently the song was co-written with Jessie Ware and Kid Harpoon (both up and coming English singer-songwriters), and it shows. "Days Are Gone" is clearly Haim's strongest deviation from their original sound, with the track including bassist Este Haim's lead vocals, and a large emphasis on piano synths. With "Days Are Gone," being the most heavily influenced by pop, conceivably, the title track could be the hit single of the album.
It is all about expectations, but I admit, I was initially caught off guard by the direction in which Days Are Gone went. However, it is a testament to Haim's talent and potential that they were able to successfully take their sound into new territory. I was surprised by Days Are Gone at first, but each time I listen to the album, it becomes more apparent that this talented sister trio is an up-and-coming force to be reckoned with.