With the exciting news that Haim are going on a headline tour around the UK later this year, I thought it was now an appropriate time to blurt out (or should I say ‘eloquently put forward’) my love letter to the Californian Rock n’ Roll band. They’re what we need right now.
If you don’t have a clue who they are (shame on you) then let me do a quick introduction. Haim is a band made up of three sisters – Este (vocals & bass), Danielle (lead vocals & guitar) and Alana (vocals & rhythm guitar). Their music is the kind that makes you move your feet, your heart leap in recognition and brings you as much joy as returning home to your dogs after a long hard day. Oh and when you see them live they are all of the above, but multiplied by one hundred.
They began jamming in their parents’ living room in San Fernando Valley and then gradually started playing gigs around LA (their first gig was in a Clown museum – what?!). Now, two albums later and with fans like Taylor Swift and Paul Thomas Anderson, Haim are now (well, I certainly think they are) the coolest band in the world. They’re loud, funny and most importantly, real – not some industry throw-up with skinny black jeans (eek).
Saying this, Haim’s sound, at first glance, may appear a bit ‘Radio 2’ – i.e it’s safely amiable and even ostensibly unoriginal. It has a mixture of soft rock riffs and lyrics about love, loneliness and jealousy. Indeed, when you first listen to them you think ‘okay I can put this band in a box – they’re just a retro throwback to the 70s; yeah, they’re like Fleetwood Mac and there’s also something so New Wave about them.’
Yet, now after listening to them more and more with my headphones on, I’ve decided that their music is by no means ‘unoriginal’. It’s really really thrilling, especially in relation to their most recent album, Something To Tell You. Tracks like ‘Want You Back’, ‘Ready For You’ and ‘Something To Tell You’ all contain sun-soaked melodies, R&B beats and killer choruses. And the crucial thing is that, instead of having all of these elements glaring back at you, they’re strangely fused to the Rock n’ Roll surface. This makes for left-field, modern sound that definitely doesn’t reside in any musical commonplace. Their producer Ariel Rechtshaid’s slick ear obviously has something to do with this, but mostly, the sisters themselves deserve the credit. Their own subtle song-writing talents seep through all their music. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, the sisters explained that they wanted to protect their own input when it came to writing and recording the songs. The surging track, ‘Right Now’ truly reflects this will. It’s a song about a woman saying that ‘you’re lucky to be with me’ and, as Alana rightly explained to Rolling Stone, it is a subject that she had ‘never really heard’ before in a song. Songs don’t usually say stuff like that from ‘a woman’s perspective’.
Haim are really ‘Female power’ with a capital ‘F’ and I suppose that’s why I love them so much. Yes, they’re sassy, soulful, talented, but oh my, they’re vital.