Haim’s Days Are Gone and I have had a few adventures during our fortnight together. There was the time we got stinking drunk at the top of our voices while I cleaned the bathroom, and the time Haim kept me company through an epic Sunday evening delayed train/replacement bus extravaganza across the country. We met unexpected deadlines together, negotiated family drama, had a memorable race through central London on the day I failed to follow directions to a big work meeting, and went white water rafting (woohoo!).
Obviously there have been a few things going on this fortnight besides listening to Haim. From the crushing pressure of increased responsibility at work to the strain of entertaining 10 people for a weekend, I’ve had plenty on my plate. But from the first listen, Days Are Gone felt like an old friend. It raised my spirits, lowered my inhibitions and integrated itself seamlessly into a bizarre couple of weeks.
Days Are Gone is a pretty straightforward pop rock album, but it holds its own in a crowded genre. The upbeat opener Falling is about throwing yourself wholeheartedly into… love? life? music? quite what is unclear, but the song sounds fantastic. This a pretty consistent theme of the album. The lyrics are slightly clumsy and fairly meaningless, but the punchy vocal styling and the catchy rhythms overcome this. The album is full of great songs to sing along to as you dance about your day, just as long as you don’t look for anything deeper!
Despite the dodgy lyrics, the vocals are my favorite part of Days Are Gone. Haim have a knack for an ear-catching vocal rhythm, with highlights including the rolling “I know I know I know” on The Wire, and the can’t-resist-singing-along lilting “Hey you, hey you” on Forever. Song 5, with it’s excellent dirty brass, probably captures this vocal variation best. From the low drawl of the opening lines, through the shouty refrain to the unexpected pure pop harmonisation that pops up on the middle, Haim kept my interest throughout.
Most of the songs on Days Are Gone have their moments so it’s hard to pick a highlight, but I particularly enjoyed half-way track Don’t Save Me. It uses the affected LA cool of the sisters’ voices to great effect, and the ‘I don’t care’ lyrics almost manage to convince. Don’t Save Me tries a bit too hard, but it’s a lot of fun to listen to, much like the rest of the record.
I have heard that Haim are a great live band, with their raw material having more of an edge to it. I can see how Days Are Gone could benefit from this, and hopefully Dave and I will hear for ourselves over the summer. May the future bring many more Haim-influenced escapades!