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HAIM evokes warmth out of dysfunction on ‘Something To Tell You’

Andy Moser

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Imagine driving down the highway in a convertible overlooking the beach under an orange California sky. The lighting is the kind that turns teal eyes blue, and there’s not a single other car on the road. In this moment, the strings of HAIM’s Want You Back strike from within the speakers to create an instantaneous feeling of freedom.

But then that freedom starts to fade as lead singer Danielle Haim’s words begin to tell a different story. She triggers the softest feeling of regret that the instrumentation blurs into reminiscence and even nostalgia.

“Some things are long forgotten / Some things were never said / We were on an endless road / But I had a wandering heart,” she admits. It sounds like a tale of heartbreak and anguish, but when it all comes together, this song is sorrow you can dance to.

This is the beginning of HAIM’s sophomore album, Something To Tell You, and it’s a tone-setter.

Much of the emotion generated by this album is sadness and remorse masquerading as joy and clarity. This odd but familiar balancing act is accomplished by vulnerable writing, light pop/rock instrumentals, and crisp harmonies that recall 90’s Wilson Phillips.

The voices of sisters Danielle, Este and Alana Haim blend effortlessly throughout this album. This is especially true on Little of Your Love which boasts one of the greatest hooks of 2017 so far.

“You gotta give me just a little of your love baby, and I’ll try,” they sing over light, bubbly guitars. It’s a smooth track from beginning to end, the latter showcasing a guitar solo that will have even the stillest human beings playing it in the air. This would sound perfect in a ‘50s diner.

The title track is another great place to find those harmonies, but the thundering percussion slyly steals a bit of the spotlight over the hook as the girls reveal they have something to say to the man (men?) in question. They’re hesitant, though, to say what’s on their minds because saying it out loud inevitably makes it more real. The track comes to the conclusion that “everything’s alright” when the most difficult things to say are said, suggesting a comfort one feels when they can convey their emotions without fear of the sky falling.

You Never Knew and Walking Away contain some interesting production that doesn’t seem to blend as well with the vocals as it does with many other songs on the album, and as a result, provide for some of the album’s more forgettable moments. The constant theme of heartbreak may also grow tiresome for some listeners, but Found It In Silence comes to the rescue with a refreshing moment of clarity as Danielle shouts triumphantly from the mountaintops “I finally see / There’s no turning back, I know what’s good for me.”

The one-two punch of Right Now and Night So Long lands both in the gut and in the heart. Right Now brings in a delicate piano to ease the pain being felt in the moment, and then guitars blare to release it. It’s uniquely paced and serves as another album highlight.

Night So Long is the album’s closer. Clocking in at three minutes and five seconds, it’s the shortest song on there, and somehow, it rips more emotion out of the human soul than any of the other songs. It’s slow and somber, the kind of tune that plays when it’s 4 a.m. and you’re the last one left at a party. Streamers are falling off of walls, and a disco ball casts its light around a dark empty room as that bitter loneliness starts to creep in to make you feel truly isolated. It’s beautifully sensitive, and once it fades, you can wipe your tears, take a deep breath, and begin the journey all over again.

 

4/5 Sails

 

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact editor@unfspinnaker.com.

 

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HAIM evokes warmth out of dysfunction on ‘Something To Tell You’