Spotify Special – Days Are Gone, by HAIM

ss02-daysaregone

Released September 27, 2013

44 min, 14 sec

Yes, that’s right, the Spotify special finally returns. I remember, when I started two months ago, I thought this would be as frequent as the vinyl special. Well, surprise, I was wrong. Oh well.

Days Are Gone has an unusual audio aesthetic, where it feels like a band straight out of the 70s, with music that’s heavily groove-oriented and centered around a trio of fantastic female vocals, but is also clearly rooted in 2013 and the 2010s as a whole. This extends to the band’s general sound, developed over several years, gaining ground as a band following 2012’s Forever, leading up to a major label debut with Days Are Gone.

The major component of HAIM’s unique sound is that it is based around the Haim sisters – Alana on guitar, Este on bass, Danielle on guitar and drums (in the studio) and their seamless vocal blending. Each has their own vocal feel, but for the most part, the three function as a unit vocally, trading lines and verses around, perfectly in tune with one another. The band is only augmented in live shows by the addition of drummer Dash Hutton, allowing Danielle to stand alongside her sisters at the front of the stage and make singing easier for her. With the way the band presents themselves, they likely could trade on the novelty of their lineup alone – but they don’t, because they’re fantastic musicians and have put out an amazing album in Days Are Gone.

Like I mentioned above, the album is all about groove, incorporating all sorts of genres and sounds, spanning all across the vast genre known as “rock music,” with Southern influences, heavy pop influences, and even flashes of disco across the album. The Haim sisters tread a lot of ground lyrically, with a lot of focus on relationships – lamenting them, praising them, all along the gamut.

I’ll be honest, though – the lyrics aren’t the focus for me. All three Haim sisters have a distinct accent that can often result in their words muddling together, and as I’ve talked about before, I have a tendency to tune out lyrics anyway.

What really sells me on HAIM and Days Are Gone is the musical prowess of the sisters. They’re practically the only performers on the album, barring a few extra performers for some of the more out-there sound the band employs. Their musical range is incredible, and the album’s sequencing never feels like I’m being yanked in different directions too quickly. HAIM switches from powerful slow-jams to fast-paced, hard hitting rock in the blink of an eye, and it always feels natural. They can do energetic in a fantastic way, but they also can slow down and really savor every note. All three sisters are strong, emotive singers, with smart, incredibly pleasing vocal rhythms in every song. I’m bobbing my head from the opening synth chords of “Falling” to the very last notes of “Running if You Call My Name.”

For anyone looking for a new, uncommon sound, Days Are Gone is the complete package. HAIM is a lot like CHVRCHES, doing something interesting with their music without ever really taking themselves too seriously, or getting too wrapped up in being a “deep” band. It doesn’t always have to be high-concept, listen-to-every-single-word music to be engaging and enjoyable, after all.

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