A Matter of HAIM

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To give my nearest and dearest some respite from all the HAIM all the time, I thought I would indulge in a little public gushing. If you haven’t yet discovered the Californian sisters, Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, I suggest you get on it – stat! (Stat means now!) There are two reasons for urgency: one is because why deprive yourself for a second longer, the other is that their days of playing intimate venues are numbered. Or rather, those days are gone.

Haim1_0When I belatedly discovered the percussive sister trio, I was immediately struck by their on-stage energy. At times, the electricity of their performances seems to inspire an almost orgasmic reaction in the musicians – especially bass player and resident badass, Este Haim. Their quirks  – “bassface”, shoulder shaking, hair flying everywhere, the just-sipped-a-Coke “ahs” – are immensely compelling, without ever seeming performative. Danielle, the more enigmatic of the sisters, often delivers lyrics with an aggression that the studio recordings don’t capture, and the conviction of her delivery makes the performances all the more enthralling.  In fact, there are moments (lots of them, extremely close together), where it seems as though HAIM are completely caught up in their music, running on the energy radiating from their audience without conscious performance. The climactic drum battle of Let Me Go perfectly showcases exactly this quality, a rhythmic explosion of raw talent for all to see. They are just making their music and we’re all invited to watch.

In a mere couple of weeks, my time has come for the live experience and I’m monumentally pumped. In my ideal world, they would play every track they’ve ever put out and every cover they have ever touched (notably, Strong Enough and Hazy Shade of Winter). Honey and I, If I Could Change Your Mind, Falling and Oh Well are the songs that I’m most excited to hear of the likely choices, while Better Off, of the 2012 Forever EP, is probably more of a pipedream. No matter what they play, though, I know I’m in good hands. Those ladies are rockstars.

In contrast to the explosive live show, studio HAIM has an entirely different vibe. Their debut album is mellower than their performances might lead you to expect, but benefits from it. Days Are Gone is one of very few albums of which I can honestly say, I love every single track. The songs are a versatile bunch, perfect for writing to, running to, relaxing to and, most delightfully, for dancing to. The band’s latest single, If I Could Change Your Mind, is perhaps the finest example of all of the above. The track had been a go-to for my writing playlists, until the video came along, filled with throwback dance routines that looked slick and cool, and so much fun. I no longer have the ability to sit still when I hear IICCYM, its lyrics now catchier than ever. It reminded me of being ten years old and pretending to be in a girlband with my best friends, making up dance routines in our bedrooms. HAIM have a knack for inadvertently celebrating the form of female friendship that rings true for me, just in the way they interact. Watching them in the Forever, Falling, Don’t Save Me and If I Could Change Your Mind videos, it’s clear that they enjoy dancing together and are doing it for the love of music. It struck me as rare in 2014 to see three female musicians, or popstars, or whatever you want to refer to them as, dancing in a completely non-sexualised but completely sincere, fun, freeing way. Thank god for it. They make me want to dance! 

17806-alana-haim-este-haim-and-danielle-haim-0x375-1Of HAIM‘s many virtues, their enviable style is not to be overlooked. The perfect waves of Haim hair are a constant, and you can usually count on at least one leather jacket between the three of them, as well as a nice pair of shades. Este’s trademark style is the bold red lip, light blonde ombre and an LBD of the day. You can expect to see Alana in a pair of cut-off denim shorts and a top borrowed from Danielle’s wardrobe. Danielle herself is, her sisters claim, the most stylish of the bunch with a chic wardrobe that sees her showing up even the most fashionable of humans. It’s usually trousers for the middle sister, but they range from the YSL suit she rocked for the Brits to her beloved black jeans. No matter what, their fashion choices really make it seem like they have their lives together. And if they don’t make you want to rush out and buy a leather jacket, well then I just don’t think we’re on the same wavelength.

As their ‘Sound of 2013’ accolade might suggest, HAIM seem to have nailed a formula that draws upon innumerable musical influences, both past and present, while still sounding completely current. While Forever was the perfect soundtrack to 2013, If I Could Change Your Mind confidently brings them into the new year and leaves me desperate for album two. Given that it took Este, Danielle and Alana about six years to perfect their debut, I should probably hold my damn horses. In the meantime, I shall just spend my money buying leather jackets and red lipstick in the hope of waking up of one day waking up as the fourth Haim sister. Oh, and happily snapping up every HAIM concert ticket I can get my little mits on!

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2 Comments

  1. I love love love love love love this. So glad we share this mutual love! Haha! X

    Reply

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