The three sisters and a mister that make up Haim had a harder job than most to do with their debut record. Not only did it have to live up to their ferociously energetic live shows, it also had to live up to an incredible amount of expectation from all that have come across them. Days Are Gone is a testament to the bands talent and everything mentioned above has not only been achieved but also exceeded.
Opening track, ‘Falling’, begins as a hushed rhythmic intro that progresses into a fully fledged pop song. Este, Alana and Danielle’s harmonies in the chorus as they echo around each other like an all female Rumours era Fleetwood Mac that the band have consistently been referred to throughout their fledgling career. Ariel Reichsheidt produced track ‘The Wire’ is the ultimate break up song: sassy, strong and tongue in cheek, it could be the ‘Forget You’ for the slightly more emotionally mature of people. Compared to the original live recorded version, the track has lost none of its power and the increased focus on the guitar lines and synth backing make the leap expected of all bands as they mature from live playing focused to seriously minded recording artists.
I will admit that when I first heard a track would be called ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’ my immediate thought was that Haim had made a Cher tribute song. They haven’t… But I still would have been totally okay with that. Instead we have that all too familiar feeling of wanting to reverse a break up and ‘hit the ground running’. Yes Haim are most known for their excellent musical talent when it comes to their instruments but if anyone was in doubt over their ability at lyricism, they need to only hear this track to convince them otherwise.
‘Honey & I’ has also been given a slight makeover from the rough and ready session versions that have been floating around online. Stripped back to its most minimal parts, the focus is shifted to the emotion in the vocal as well as being felt in the guitar melodies that are so gentle it’s the musical equivalent of someone stroking your hair.
Now, being the first song of Haim’s that I heard over a year ago now, ‘Forever’ is incredibly special to me in the way that I think a first child being born is to a parent. So when I had heard there were alterations made to this already perfect track I was scared. I was scared that a producer could have taken away the song I loved and turned it into something totally alien to what I knew. But, fear aside, the ‘new’ version of ‘Forever’ may only have a few minor changes that the majority of people might not even notice but those little changes have enhanced the track with the tiniest of nuances but had a big impact on the overall atmosphere and vibe of the track.
The title track ‘Days Are Gone’ may come only in the second half of the record but don’t let that put you off. An insanely preened pop song that brings back memories of Britney Spears sitting on a basketball court, not because of genre similarity but because of how well produced yet human it feels. The programmed drums make all of the difference here and it’s clear that Haim have knowledge far beyond their typical guitars, bass and drums line up.
I had many a worry over whether Days Are Gone would live up to my high expectations, not because I doubted them but because after twelve times of seeing the band live, I wanted everyone else to fall for them in the same way that I and many others have. Hallelujah! Days Are Gone could not have been made any better. Armed with a crack team of producers in James Ford and Ariel Rechsheidt, Haim have bottled their star quality and finally, now have shared it with the world. The time is now and the time belongs to Haim.
Words: Rachael Scarsbrook