You couldn’t come up with a more well-suited title for Haim’s debut album than Days Are Gone. At once referring to their mining of yesteryear’s nostalgia-filled sounds, it’s also an underhanded acknowledgement of their unpredictable music career – one that spans cover bands, manufactured pop groups, and session musicians for indie-rock’s most household names. It might have been a year and a half between Days Are Gone and the release of their hype-inducing first single, ‘Forever’, but that’s nothing in the eyes of the three sisters Haim, 2013’s most patient act.
Indeed, while opening for The Strokes last year, Julian Casablancas gave the girls some crucial advice: ‘Disappear, come back in a year with better songs, and hit the ground running.’ Most will have likely heard half of Days Are Gone before it was even released, for Haim applied this advice to the letter: the record rides the back of their relentless tour schedule, one peppered by a steady stream of hits, each as strong as the last.
This doesn’t mean to say that Days Are Gone feels late or safe. Newer tracks such as ‘The Wire’ are charmingly catchy additions to their sound, while even ‘Forever’, the band’s hype-inducing breakout song, benefits from a fresh coat of paint. Haim’s selling point will always be their earnest adoption of Fleetwood Mac-esque pop-rock and R&B’s rhythmic snap, but the album does well not to take itself too seriously. With its subtle electronic experimentation, ‘My Song 5’ is a much-needed palette cleanser on an album so consistent that it may otherwise have been considered same-y.
A testament to taking one’s time, Days Are Gone is polished, precise and more powerful for it. Even with their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, Haim have played the hype game better than any other band this year, all while putting personality back into pop.