Album Review: HAIM – ‘Days Are Gone’

The Haim sisters make music that represents a time period that has never happened. On their debut album, Days Are Gone, middle-sister Danielle’s experience touring with 2000’s indie-rock icon, Julian Casablancas, stands out as a central influence just as much as the 1990’s R&B scene defined by Destiny’s Child or Stevie Nicks’ 1980’s songwriting. As Days Are Gone progresses throughout its forty-five minutes of California-based indie pop, the varied influences in HAIM’s music are exhibited by the band’s range of instrumentation and skilled songwriting. Their ability to fuse antiquated sounds into a modern context makes Days Are Gone a perfect compilation of old and new.

HAIM’s style of music, particular to no specific era, is something that Este, Danielle, and Alana have developed through a lifetime of playing music together. After performing in a family band with their parents at an early age, Danielle and Este spent their teenage years in the teen-pop quintet, The Valli Girls. Since then, the three sisters have become HAIM, creating music that features a scope of influence greater than their twenty-something years of life experience.

Days Are Gone opens with a nod to the 80’s, as the album’s first single “Falling” features synth lines and electro-beats originally found in dance-pop acts like Madonna and Michael Jackson. With the vocal melodies and the songwriting featured on tracks like “Honey & I,” however, it’s clear that HAIM are more than just a reincarnation synth-pop party music. While the entirety of Days Are Gone incorporates contemporary takes on older influences, the voice modulations and minimalist percussion section featured in “My Song 5” establish a sound more closely related to today’s EDM-driven music scene than any other track. As the album concludes with the slow-building, R&B-esque “Let Me Go” and the dream-like “Running if You Call My Name,” HAIM returns to their 80’s and 90’s roots, forming a style of music from neither the past nor present.

Key tracks: The Wire, Honey & I, My Song 5