There’s so much good summer music flying around right now that it can be hard to keep up, but I’ll always make time to check out a new track from HAIM. I’ve been a fan of the LA sister trio since catching them at POPSHOP018 last year in NYC. I’d never heard of them, but the crowd was buzzing with anticipation, and by the middle of the first song, the anticipation had turned fully to joy, and I was swept up. Individually, they’ve each got charisma and energy to spare, and collectively, I saw a confidence and a unity among the three of them that quickly drew me in. (I guess growing up together will give you that. It can be easy to forget that a lot of bands don’t really know each other, despite the hours and hours they spend together.) But I became a true convert somewhere around the time Danielle ripped into the dirty, bluesy guitar solo halfway through “Let Me Go.”
A childhood spent listening to their parents’ collection of 70s LPs in the San Fernando Valley gave HAIM a Fleetwood Mac-jams-with-Led Zeppelin-at-a-SoCal-beach-bonfire vibe. There’s something old-fashioned about their music, but not in a retro or nostalgic way; maybe “timeless” is a better word for it. A lot of the elements they incorporate into their songs – strong harmonies, great guitar parts, simple verse/chorus song structures, tried-and-true chord changes, handclaps (can never have too many handclaps), lyrics about love and heartbreak – have been around forever because they never get old. The three sisters’ affection for the music of the past doesn’t cloud their youthful energy; I think it enhances it, makes it more nuanced. To me, HAIM is the perfect musical embodiment of the young person/old soul archetype.
So, the song: it’s called “The Wire,” it’s been kicking around as a demo and in HAIM’s live sets for a while, and it’s great. Bouncy, upbeat, propelled by a smooth bassline, anchored by a simple, driving kick/snare rhythm, and wrapped around a catchy little repeating phrase: “I know, I know, I know, I know/that you’re gonna be OK anyway.” The lyrics describe a relationship gone sour, but the music suggests that the protagonist is moving on, rather than wallowing in self-pity or moping around. It swings breezily through its verses and soars up into prime sing-along territory in the choruses – a perfect summer song. HAIM finally announced that their debut LP will be out on September 23, and I can’t wait.