THE HYPE machine has been overdriving for Haim, the band based around sisters Alana, Este and Danielle, for the last year, but finally their debut album has arrived, and it sums up their conflicting and sometimes frustrating presence on the pop platter.
Bigged up by acts like Mumford and Sons, Vampire Weekend and Major Lazer, and signed to ROC Nation, as well as the recipients of the top BBC Sound of 2013 accolade, you would expect that there was something very, very special about this act, and it has to be said that in spite of their immense musical debt to the Eighties, there is something going on here.
Opening with your three biggest and best-known tracks is a move either packed with folly or supreme confidence in the rest of your material that graces your debut album. It turns out that both of those statements are true in almost equal measure over the remaining eight tracks.
The first non-familiar tracks, If I Could Change Your Mind, is the equal of any of their pre-album releases, with it’s juddering backbeat and choppy guitar lines, a conscious call-back to Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Starting Something, and slick harmonies delivering an impressive, albeit retrogressive, pop moment, matched for its 30-year old feel by the Cindi Lauper-esque Go Slow a few tracks later.
Where Days Gone By doesn’t fly is in the almost strict adherence to formula, making a few of the tracks less memorable and more likely to make you ask yourself if your generic music playing device has skipped back and played the same song again.
But there is certainly enough here, particularly on their singles to date, to suggest that their time in collaboration with artists from diverse genres and their time on the stages of the world over the past nine months will see them come up trumps once they develop an identity that they can truly call their own.
By converting Haim the band into something that calls back on their obvious influences while pushing forward beyond the trappings of the Eighties pop sensibilities that they are so completely versed with will make them an unstoppable force.