HAIM's long silence pays off on new record

NOSELL

Polydor Records

 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 5:00pm

It’s been awhile since we’ve last heard from HAIM, the LA-based indie-pop band comprised of three San Fernando sisters. Their debut garnered critical success and, with a co-sign by the industry queen herself (Taylor Swift™), HAIM accumulated tremendous momentum. But after a short tour for their full-length debut, the band grew quiet. Over the course of 2016, HAIM featured on a Calvin Harris track and occasionally hosted their own Beats 1 show, but no new music. For a new band to gain so much buzz and go silent for the next three years, it was easy to forget about them. With Something to Tell You, HAIM reminds fans that they have a lot to say — and you should be listening.

Distilled, Something to Tell You hits on every point discussed from the beginning to the end of a rocky relationship. On the upbeat “Ready For You,” the sisters recall a casual lover, wishing they could go back and try to make things more serious. “Little of Your Love” pleads a partner to meet the girls halfway and offer them a glimpse of reciprocated feelings. With “Walking Away,” the pop-iest standout, HAIM mourns the end of a relationship while facing the harsh reality of needing to remove yourself from a situation that just isn’t working.

With Something to Tell You, HAIM finds the happy medium between progressing sonically as a band while remaining warmly familiar. Partly due to co-writing by Ariel Rechtshaid, who specializes in songs that straddle the border of pop and soul (Adele’s “When We Were Young” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “All That”), HAIM delivers an album that strongly resembles the indie-pop roots of their debut, but takes notable steps towards experimentation. “Found It In Silence” features profound synth strings with a simple bass drum accompaniment — a familiar sound in HAIM’s discography. Meanwhile, the entire album comes with a vintage hue. As if viewed through the orange-tinted glasses the sisters sport on the cover, Something to Tell You marries classic guitar riffs with pop melodies, another attribute that is signature to Rechtshaid. Infusing this vintage vibe within indie-pop tracks helps accentuate the album’s relationship advice; listeners really feel like the sisters are reflecting back on lessons learned from past exes.

At 11 tracks, the album is the perfect length to keep listeners engaged without exhausting attention spans. It’s amazing to hear how much lead singer Danielle Haim’s voice has grown since their debut. However, unlike their last album, which featured greater vocal variety from Este and Alana (see “The Wire”), Something to Tell You feels more like Danielle and the Haim Sisters than HAIM, causing some of the tracks to lose depth due to a lack of familiar collaboration.

In retrospect, it’s understandable that HAIM took three years to gather their thoughts. Something to Tell You is extremely rich both sonically and lyrically and, just as Danielle sings on “Found It In Silence,” sometimes a long silence is a good thing.