tue 29/09/2020

Album: HAIM - Women in Music Pt III | reviews, news & interviews

Album: HAIM - Women in Music Pt. III

Album: HAIM - Women in Music Pt. III

Energy and experimentation from sister trio at the top of their game

HAIM: giddy, flirtatious, introspective and letting rip

If the title of their third album alludes to the lazy assumption of female-fronted as a musical genre, HAIM’s revenge is to try a little bit of everything, while never sounding anything less than themselves. Women in Music Pt.

If the title of their third album alludes to the lazy assumption of female-fronted as a musical genre, HAIM’s revenge is to try a little bit of everything, while never sounding anything less than themselves. Women in Music Pt. III elevates the sister trio’s signature harmonies, infectious rhythms and Sunshine Coast melodies with muted saxophones, warped vocal samples, techno beats, good ol’-fashioned soft-rock guitar riffs - and a whole lotta honesty.

The band take turns at being giddy, flirtatious and introspective, letting rip equally at 3am booty calls, depressive illness and patronising guitar salesmen. The album opens with a tongue in cheek love song to the sisters’ native Los Angeles, sultry sax and a feather-light guitar melody shimmering like the heat from the pavements. “New York is cold, I tried the winter there once… nope,” Danielle sings, drawn back even as she lists the opposite coast’s negatives. “I’ve Been Down” and “Now I’m In It” - two songs rooted in Danielle’s depression - similarly juxtapose pure summer vibes with a heavy subtext. Then there’s “Summer Girl”, the now year-old single which kicked off the album cycle, which more than earns its place as a track 16 endnote: the threaded saxophone and light-in-the-dark vocals, which call back to cross-country phone calls while Danielle’s partner Ariel Rechtshaid, the band’s frequent producer, was in treatment for testicular cancer.

No matter how heavy the music gets (see gorgeous penultimate track “Hallelujah”, another early single, in whose verses Alana eulogises her best friend and Este makes sense of chronic illness - it deserves to become as much of a standard as the other one), there’s a lightness and humour to the performances - this is a group completely in tune with each other, and performing at the top of their game. It’s : warped backing vocals and muted beats collaborator Charli XCX would be proud of on alienated driving song “I Know Alone”; screams of abandon on “All That Ever Mattered”; the late night intimacies of “FUBT”. Women in Music Pt. III is that rare elongated album that justifies its length, with plenty to dig into through your summer nights and beyond.

Below: watch HAIM's video for "The Steps"

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