I’ve been dodging the Haim hype all year, and the reason is due to how they’ve been marketed to me. Always photographed in a quasi-sepia tone, outdoors, and with their long hair dutifully unkempt – I was led to believe that these three sisters from L.A. spent their time in the hills reciting Stevie Nicks lyrics over a bubbling cauldron, crafting tunes about how the moss on the surrounding rocks does things to their vaginae that no mortal man ever could. Ironically those same images led a friend of mine to believe they were nothing but pre-packaged bubble-gum pop. Either way, we were both way off track. Sure, the Nicks-comparison is somewhat valid, but why didn’t anybody just tell me straight up that these girl kick fucking ass. Here’s how I’d describe them – put Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, and Chrissie Hynde together in a band, and pretend they didn’t start making music until they had gleefully lived through and embraced everything the 90′s had to offer.
It almost feels like their promotional team wanted to dupe people into checking them out. It’s sad to think that we still live in an age where gentle women of the mysterious wilderness is supposed to be more appealing than self-empowered young bitches crushing shit, but that seems to be the case. These girls are strong, confident, and cool as all hell, and there’s no reason for them to be presented in the media as delicate fairy-women. Perhaps my own history with how promotional media is presented to me has created a regularly convoluted image of new acts, but either way I’m interested to see how my reaction to their promotional material will be now that I know what they’re really all about.
Anyway, the music… There’s been a solid amount of strong female artists emerging on the scene in the past year or two, but there hasn’t been a solid new female band on the scene in forever – at least not if you exclude all-star groups like Wild Flag. Anyway again, the tunes… There’s a fairly broad spectrum of influences across the album, Days Are Gone, but they collectively forge a cohesive vision of the band – one that’s not afraid to make a dance hit, a folk song, a straight rocker, or just have fucking fun for Christ’s sake. I feel like if you told Danielle Haim that the beginning of “The Wire” is a direct poaching of The Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight,” her reply would be “Yeah…so?” Telling a trio of sisters that one of their songs sounds too much like a 35 year old track co-written by Bob Seger is the kind of nit-picking that gets a bottle cracked over your skull. Frankly, I find it to be a great act of re-purposing. “Forever” totally cops one of Thriller’s disco shuffles, and it’s great. “Honey and I” sounds like Joni Mitchell putting new lyrics to a stripped down version of Garcia’s “Reuben and Cherise.”
Long story short – I don’t care that some of their songs take a few liberties from the past, I don’t care that they’re constantly bathed in sepia, and as sure as hell don’t give a fuck that I’m outside of their target demographic. These girls kick ass, and I’m fully on their team.
Photo courtesy of Haim Twitter account.