Sound — 5
So a band that has been making a hit recently is the sister trio Haim. I decided to give these LA girls a listen. The album "Days Are Gone" consists of 15 tracks of quite a varied smörgåsbord of sounds that create an album that has been deemed great enough to be placed on a shelf in what ever music stores are even still kicking around these days. But is that where is belongs? Let's break it down.
The girls believe they take some of their sound from the band Fleetwood Mac (formed in 1967, well known for many tracks the most popular of which is possibly "Go Your Own Way"). I would say this is a somewhat fair comment on the music. You can hear a bit of the Mac in their sound but its not all that's apparent. Haim also seem to include a feel of the late '80s early '90s pop. There is certainly something reminiscent of some of the classic movies of my childhood: "Three Men and a Baby," "Look Who's Talking" and so many more from that era.
Earlier I mentioned "smörgåsbord" I meant this in 2 ways. The first being that the girls have certainly used a lot of different instruments, tones and sounds. But I also mean that even though there is a great use of all this it is somewhat cold and dead. Over published yet under performed, is possibly what I would use to describe the albums sounds.
The guitars in this album sound like they have simply gone through a Line 6 POD farm straight in to Sonar. Which may be excellent for a bedroom band that these girls most definitely started off as but at this point it's like having sex with a prostitute, it's got no feel. Also wouldn't hold my breath for any gripping solo's but that just my cup of tea not for everyone.
Mechanical to say the least. Which maybe is a good thing I mean you only need to punch the tune in to a drum machine once unlike the real thing. My issue with the drums in this album is that is it not drums. It's simply a metronome that never gets anything added to it only things taken. "Let's take out the clap and the thump while we sing for a moment." I isn't interesting. It is simply boring. Again there is versatility with a drum machine. Different sounds and effects but again I am paying for a prostitute. I will give it some credit the drums certainly remind you of the ass when electric kits first started coming to the stream and awesome sounds were being made. Instead of a prostitute, it's like having sex with an ex, you're grateful to be getting laid but don't know how you feel about it.
The bass? One of the girls play it. So I know its there. In the track "Let Me Go" you even hear it. But in terms of how much it stands out... Well I like to think they have used the exact same settings used for the "...And Justice for All" (Metallica's classic fury filled bassless album).
I can't give to much grief on this one. At least not as much as I would like to. End of the day the girls can sing. There is a couple vocal manipulations that go on throughout the album but it is only to emphasize parts and honestly works. The levels of the vocals work well there may be a lot of excess reverb used on the backing vocals but again it works when it needs to. Girls your years practicing harmonies has paid off. I would have ever get an in hailer and some confidence in your lyrics. Let's face it 2 minutes and 50 seconds in to the wire and I feel like I am listening to an asthmatic stutterer with hypothermia.
Used in excess amounts and probably mixed a little to high in the album. But certainly adds the vibe that I was describing earlier. I think there could have been better choice in tone in a few of the tracks. If that's the worst I can say about it they ain't done to half bad.
This instrument makes a couple appearances in the album but certainly sounds like the girls when drinking Tennants while scoffing Tins of baked beans by the Kilo. It's best performance is in "My Song 5" which annoyingly is track 8 on the album, come on girls!
Lyrics — 6
Lyrically the album is good, I wouldn't say memorable but good. It puts me somewhat in mind of "Songs About Jane" by Maroon 5. It doesn't really seem to have a great message it's just writing out ones scorn, venting if you will. But hey we all write about hear ache. I'm a blues guy to my roots so If I write lyrics I just repeat "my baby left me" until I am ironically enough blue in the face. Lyrically I get the impression of re-birth, starting again on your own with no one except yourself to rely on. Honestly that is a great message. End of the day I feel this album is being written from experience for that I will actually change my score from 4 to a higher one like 6 because at least they are writing something our kids can listen to. There is nothing explicit in this album and that admirable. So many of the youths idols these days simply sing about getting waisted with auto-tune. I'll give these girls genuine credit where it is due and vocally and lyrically they have done not bad.
Overall Impression — 7
The overall impression I got from the album is that it starts off quite strong but doesn't really grab your attention enough as the album goes on. The beats are the same. I know practice makes perfect and repetition is a key part of that but lets take "Send Me Down" track 12. A remarkably boring keyboard riff that just repeats over and over. The sound of it isn't even interesting.
I will say don't write these girls off, they are young. With the oldest member only coming up to 28 years old in 2014. They have potential they seem like they can have a laugh. Their video for "The Wire" a side from making them out to be a little bit mean stars The Lonely Island's Jorma Taccone crying his eyes out. All in all makes for a bit of fun. Haim could have a lengthy career ahead of them and are likely to create a few good tracks along they way. They are tackling a new market and maybe they have the chops to do it.
Combining some synth and catchy hooks that can be danced to in the clubs I hate but also with licks that are borders edge of classic rock with parts that just pull you in the '80s and make you think of Short Circuit and hell I'll say it Mannequin. Or maybe they won't last, only time will tell.