Californian sisters Haim are in no hurry to rewrite the rules of popular music. They balance elements of pop, rock, country, and R&B to shape a satisfying, radio-friendly sound; performed with a sparkling confidence and produced with crystal-clear clarity. It’s an altogether impressive, yet vaguely insipid setup that doesn’t rouse to inspire, but does play so satisfyingly to the ear, beaming with a feel-good factor that has already proved ideal for sunny festivals.
Haim’s debut record was one of the major winners of 2013, and their second studio album Something to Tell You is a pleasing continuation of their polished brand of soft rock, tinted with an even broader stroke of ‘90s R&B. For the most part, Haim sacrifice originality for expressiveness. Their influences grow more obvious as the album progresses, at times bordering on homage. “You Never Knew” struts with the confidence of a Fleetwood Mac hit; “Found it in Silence” beats with the same pounding pulse of Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love; “Walking Away” has the sensual swagger of a Prince track.
Whilst there are grounds for concern in regards to creativity, or even vague imagination, Haim embrace their inspirations in a joyous way that can only be a satisfying listening experience. Rarely do the band venture from their comfort zone, yet their glossy brand of pop-rock is generally fulfilling, at least on the surface. Some people demand more from their music, which is absolutely fine, so let’s accept Something to Tell You for what it is: a damn fine pop album. Loosen up, crack open a beer whilst lazing in the sunshine, and give it a chance. You could do a lot worse.
7 out of 10
Something to Tell You is glossy, air-headed radio pop fresh from the Pacific coast, and pretty good at it. Love is aplenty and tan will prevail. The record has the spaced, friendly character of a Long Beach stereotype, and if you reign in your (read: my) judgement it’s just as agreeable. Visions of Disney montages are pretty insistent, as well as that weird non-energy I thought was limited to ‘inspiring’ quotes telling people not to improve themselves, but it’s charming.
Haim provide the dose of Sunshine™ my drizzly British soul probably needs, and with surprising variety. The production is too shiny for my tastes, but underneath its plastic sheen you can hear everything from Kate Bush to R&B. When all is said and done, I find the cheerful sing-song of Something to Tell You hard to object to. If the album were a person I wouldn’t want to be friends with it, but I’d be glad to cross paths at parties.
7 out of 10
I’ll be honest: I came to Haim’s latest release with needless and unwarranted snobbery. Having been introduced to the band through Radio 1 daytime, my assumption was that I was in for a dull listen. But with strong flavours of Fleetwood Mac and definite tinges of Prince thrown into the mix, Something to Tell You is an album of inoffensive and enjoyable pop music.
With strong instrumentals that step above the norm, the shiny production is surplus to requirements and can often be my main critique of tracks. Lyrically, the tracklist won’t grab anyone by itself but, once again, it strays from the norm enough to provide some satisfaction. The album flows well too: “Nothing’s Wrong” draws the listener in with a punchy chorus that isn’t afraid to reveal its influences, while smoother tracks like ‘Walking Away’ are reminiscent of contemporary acts such as Lorde and St. Vincent, and do well to ease the listener into the album’s final moments.
It’s a fun listen that’s soaked in sunshine, which seems to be the intention of release. Having won me over, I can see myself returning Something to Tell You, particularly the latter half. It’ll be interesting to see where the three-piece goes from here."
7 out of 10