Every year, a few albums are released that manage to transcend critical acclaim into genuine commercial success. 2012 had Frank Ocean, the year before that Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues cemented their position in the hearts and minds of many, whilst The XX were the darlings of 2009. This year Haim, much like The XX, built up their reputation slowly but surely. Over a year after the release of their debut single ‘Forever’, the album Days Are Gone reached number 1 in the UK Albums Chart.
A product of college degrees and touring with former Strokes’ frontman Julian Casablancas, the sisters Haim were a refreshing success in 2013. As an all-female band they are refreshingly non-sexualised, with the quality of their song-writing shining through. Evolved from traditional indie rock, Days Are Gone contains elements of electro, R&B and classic rock. Whilst not wholly original, their sound bears a breezy sheen as the sisters intertwine vocally and musically.
Early highlight, recent single ‘The Wire’ finds Este, Danielle, and Alana trading off verses over a guitar-led groove as they contemplate a stunted love life.
Elsewhere ‘Honey & I’ finds the band succeeding in making an anti-romance sound so sickly sweet that it wouldn’t be out of place on the Matilda soundtrack. Most interestingly yet is ‘My Song 5’, which finds Haim at their most experimental, with pitch shifts, synthesised lines and a ridiculous power-pop middle eight.
From a promising indie outfit to a number one album, Haim’s growth in 2013 has been remarkable. Featuring heavily on end-of-year lists and boasting an early performance on Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage last year, at this rate the band will be much higher on the bill next time around.