Haim – Something to Tell You
Haim straddle the awkward middle-ground of pop and rock – a place where the scales are tipped heavily in the favour of 'commercial', rather than 'critical', success. It's also the place where a lot of the most inoffensive, innocuous, casual-fan baiting material can be found. So how is it that one of the coolest bands in the world right now is one that is so unabashedly pop rock?
One answer might be that they seem to be having way more fun than most of their peers, and in a way that is effortlessly unpretentious while everyone around them is floundering to be cool, or genuine, or so damn aloof. They don't take themselves too seriously, but still find time to hob-nob with Taylor Swift and Lorde around the fashion grounds of Coachella. The cover art of this album is indicative of their quirky, yet slightly incongruous nature: it's both simple and carefree, while being unmistakably polished.
Haim's sound is hopelessly derivative – their new album, Something to Tell You, doubles down on what Days are Gone began – but they fully embrace it, diving headlong into 1970s AM pop and updating it just enough to sound contemporary, while constantly harkening back to it. Lyrically, very little new ground is covered on this album (just look at the track titles); the songs have a feel of personal strife, but are so vague that they can fit into just about any explanation you care to apply to them.
But these criticisms are unimportant when faced with the simple catchiness of the music. Lead single and opening track, Want You Back, is classic Haim – all peppy guitars and sugary harmonies, leading to the stripped down, clap-along breakdown and the final explosive chorus. Repeat for nine songs (with the occasional electronic or string flourish, You Never Knew and Found it in Silence, respectively) and close it off with a gentle lo-fi cut, obviously named Night So Long, and there you have it.
Haim are a sleek outfit with an ear for catchy melodies and big, crowd-pleasing choruses. They aren't out to re-invent the wheel, and nor do they seem interested in doing so. Maybe down the line they'll get restless and experiment outside of their comfort sound, but at this early stage it's a lot more fun to enjoy yourself in the easy-going riffs than to criticise a lack of sonic innovation.
Listen to: Want You Back, Little of Your Love