Fam­ily highs

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - TONY CLAY­TON-LEA

Tak­ing a softly, softly ap­proach, San Fer­nando Val­ley band Haim – sis­ters Este (bass), Alana (gui­tar/key­boards), Danielle Haim (gui­tars/vo­cals), and Dash Hut­ton (drums) – has taken four years to fol­low up their de­but al­bum, Days are Gone.

That al­bum very quickly turned into a bench­mark for how to ap­ply a lick of gloss paint to 1980s/1990s pop mu­sic; not since the giddy days of MT USA and be­yond were names such as Pat Be­natar, Laura Branigan, Cyndi Lau­per and Deb­bie Gib­son bandied about with such ea­ger­ness. Fac­tor in broader strokes of Ste­vie Nicks and lighter shades of Ala­nis Moris­sette, and you had mu­sic that sounded so Amer­i­can it had stars and stripes ooz­ing from ev­ery note. Haim, how­ever, had some­thing ex­tra in their arsenal: just when you thought it was go­ing to get cheesier than a shed load of Easi Sin­gles, you were slam-dunked with killer pop hooks and de­tailed mu­si­cian­ship. Days are Gone was, as with most de­buts, a mix­ture of shots in the dark and more than sev­eral years spent pro­cess­ing ex­pe­ri­ences; mu­si­cian­ship is rarely more than pro­fi­cient and never less than en­thu­si­as­tic. Some­thing to Tell You is equal parts the lat­ter and much more than the for­mer, but it’s also about some­thing else: songcraft.

Recorded with long-time col­lab­o­ra­tor/friend Ariel Recht­shaid and for­mer Vam­pire Week­end mem­ber and pro­ducer Rostam Bat­man­glij, Haim more ex­pertly bridge the gap be­tween pris­tine pop, com­mer­cial soul and wist­ful R&B.

Mu­si­cally, it’s all very shiny, sum­mery and sunny, lyri­cally less so. If the nag­ging flaw is that the whole isn’t as whip-smart as

some of its con­stituent parts

(tunes such as Want you Back, Lit­tle of Your Love, Some­thing to

Tell You, Kept Me Cry­ing and Walk­ing Away evoke pitch meet­ings in song­writ­ing rooms, with vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess), then it’s cer­tainly not for the want of aim­ing very high in­deed. haimthe­band.com

HAIM Some­thing to Tell You

Poly­dor ★★★

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