The sister act from the San Fernando Valley, Haim, brings the magic of sibling vocal interplay to their second album, Something to Tell You.
The trio’s inspiration is the soft rock of yore, because everything old is new: it’s in the way that you move it. The sisters listened very closely to their parents’ record collection, because context is everything.
Danielle (guitar, lead vocals), Este (bass, vocals), and Alana (guitars, keys, vocals) all play drums as well and that reflects strongly in their songs. The music is slick but sparse. Haim plays for the song and the sleekness is craft not ego.
The songs are drum-driven and their percussion is as tight as their vocals. Found It In Silence is a showcase of this vocal/percussion interplay — the sisters’ voices weaving together and drums bouncing the groove along. It’s star power stuff reminiscent of golden era Fleetwood Mac.
Haim is a soft rock/pop hybrid but a clever and refined rendering. A listen to Want You Back puts it all on the line: instinctive sibling harmonizing, clean piano lines, and hooks everywhere. Their soulfulness on Walking Away and Right Now is trance-like — they stay on point with direct song structure and interlocking voices. When they add electric guitars in the mix, the arrangement uplifts.
Despite the California connection, there are no late-night desert rock reveries or any L.A.-inspired decadence. Bay Area bohemianism is out. The trio incorporate the snappy hooks of Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac’s good vibes, and the coal exuberance of ’80s and ’90s girl group R&B vocal pop. This is all sunshine, blue sky, and pop ensemble playing done flawlessly.
–Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews the latest music releases in his column, Street Sounds, every Friday.