HAIM, “Something to Tell You”

HAIM
Something to Tell You
COLUMBIA
7/10

It’s been long four years since HAIM released Days Are Gone. The sisters’ debut was rightfully lauded for its blend of indie and sunny California pop rock, and they quickly became pseudo-celebrities based on a friendship with Taylor Swift, not to mention hanging around with the likes of JAY-Z and Lorde. With Instagram fame, nearly universal praise for their music, and a fairly memorable sound, it always was going to be a challenge for the San Fernando Valley natives to surpass their immense early success. They’ve defied the odds with a slick pivot on their second album.

Having worked on the album for the better part of the past couple of years, Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim have sharpened their attention. With producer Ariel Rechtshaid once again serving as the main figure at the helm, the group has recaptured the razor-sharp, pop-driven sound that drew so much attention in the first place. From the first single, the Wilson Phillips–recalling “Want You Back,” to the emptiness of “Night So Long,” the eleven-song collection shows if there’s anything that’s going to stop HAIM, it’s going to be complacency.

The beauty of the record isn’t so much its lyrics and themes, but instead the production quality. HAIM’s broad-ranging compositions showcase a group who know their strengths—most notably on the flashy ’80s synth pop of “Nothing’s Wrong” and “Ready for You,” and on the electro R&B of “You Never Knew”—and who know what needs to be added as well. Enlisting Rostam Batmanglij, Dev Hynes, and Twin Shadow allows the trio to flourish.

These heavily textured synths and snappy rhythms are the highlights, though at times, the trio’s ambition goes a bit too far. Still, the muddled moments of “Found It in Silence” and “Night So Long” are merely hiccups instead of alarming missteps.

Instead of losing focus in the face of fame, HAIM have matured. A second album isn’t supposed to retain the debut’s DNA while moving forward in such a pronounced fashion. Don’t be fooled by Something to Tell You. Despite its glossy, shimmery, feel-good sound, it’s not a feel-good album. Sure, there’s spunk and sparkly dance pop. What the sisters manage to do is create a sound that mixes the intimate with the expansive. It’s the sonic intricacies that ensure that this is an album that may not land them immediately in the highest echelons of pop superstardom, but it certainly won’t derail their ascent.

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