It’s amazing to me when siblings A) share the same talents and B) can tolerate each other long enough to make art. In that sense, the sisters Haim are a true miracle of nature. Este, Alana, and Danielle made an excellent first impression with the 2012 EP Forever, which was solidified the following year with the release of their glossy debut LP, Days Are Gone.
Most Haim songs stick to a rigid (but foolproof) formula: They sing interweaving three-part harmonies over a heavily produced, bass-forward melody with percussive guitar riffs, R&B grooves, glittering synth, and stomp-clapped rhythms. The result sounds like Belinda Carlisle and Stevie Nicks collaborating over drum machine beats. All 11 tracks on their first record are infectious and wild: “Don’t Save Me” and “If I Could Change Your Mind” are arena-ready anthems, and “The Wire” is one of the best “sorry I’m not sorry” breakup songs of all time. Live, they perform choreographed dance moves with lots of synchronized hair-whipping.
Haim just released their second album, Something to Tell You. It’s just as good as Days Are Gone, but in a completely different way—the appeal of the new, softer pop-rock sound is less immediate. Rather than soundtracking the heat of the moment, Something to Tell You deals with everything that surfaces in the days, weeks, and months after blowing an emotional fuse. This is reflected in more complex arrangements, like the Rumors-esque “Want You Back” and the monolithic “Right Now,” which expands and contracts with measured control (the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed music video shows the sisters masterfully recording a live-in-the-studio version of the track). But the record’s standout is “Kept Me Crying”—led by a swaggering bass line, the lonesome ballad wanders through heartbreak before devolving into a twangy guitar breakdown. Here’s hoping Haim continues to evolve, because Something to Tell You builds from Days Are Gone in all the right ways.