Haim: Days Are Gone – [Record 8]
Days Are Gone: is the debut studio album by American rock band Haim. It was released on September 27, 2013 by Polydor Records. The album includes the singles “Forever”, “Don’t Save Me”, “Falling”, and “The Wire”.
Record 1, side 1.
3, The Wire.
Record 1, side 2.
4, If I Could Change Your MInd.
5, Honey & I.
6, Don’t Save Me.
Record 2, side 1.
7, Days Are Gone.
8, My Song 5.
9, Go Slow.
Record 2, side 2.
10, Let ME Go.
11, Running If You Call My Name.
Background: The three girls grew up in the San Fernando Valley, listening to the 1970s classic rock and Americana records of their music-loving parents. While they were still at school their parents formed a family band called Rockinhaim to play cover versions at local charity fairs, with Israeli-born father Mordechai (“Moti”) on drums and mother Donna on guitar. Danielle and Este were members of The Valli Girls, an all-girl group “inspired by Pat Benatar, Blondie, Gwen Stefani, The Pretenders, and Queen” from Southern California that was signed to Columbia Records / Sony Records and had a notable appearance on 2005 tween film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ soundtrack. Their song “Valli Nation” by the “SoCal teen prodigies” appears on the 2005 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards soundtrack “alongside such pop superstars as Avril Lavigne, Alicia Keys, Simple Plan, (and) Good Charlotte.”
As they grew older, the girls became more interested in incorporating pop and contemporary R&B into their music. In 2006 they decided to form their own band. For the next five years, Haim played local venues, but did not take things further as all three sisters were busy with other projects. Este was studying at UCLA and graduated in 2010 with a degree in Ethnomusicology, completed in just two years instead of the normal five. Upon graduating from high school Danielle was asked to play drums for the opening act on one of Jenny Lewis’s tours, which led to Lewis asking Danielle to be her guitarist on the following tour. The Strokes’ singer Julian Casablancas came to see one of Lewis’s shows on that tour, and he in turn asked Danielle to play guitar and percussion on his own solo tour. She has also toured as part of Scarlet Fever, the all-female backing band for Cee-Lo Green. It was after Danielle had played with other artists and Este had graduated that the sisters decided that they wanted pursue their career as Haim more seriously. Youngest sister Alana spent one year in college before dropping out to join the band with her sisters.
Having played shows supporting artists such as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Henry Clay People and Kesha, Haim’s first release was a three song EP titled Forever which was made available on February 10, 2012 as a free download on their website for a brief period. The EP received a lot of attention from the music press and the general public, and following a successful gig at the South by South West festival in March 2012 Haim signed a deal with Polydor Records in the UK in June 2012. In July 2012 independent record label National Anthem released the Forever EP on 10″ vinyl, containing the original three songs along with a fourth track, a remix of “Forever” by Dan Lissvik. Following dates supporting Mumford & Sons on their “Gentlemen of the Road” tour in the US in August 2012, Haim made their debut tour of the UK in November 2012 and then supported Florence and the Machine on their UK and Ireland tour in December 2012.
Critical Reception: Upon its release, Days Are Gone received generally favorable reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 79, based on 34 reviews. Ann Powers from NPR stated “HAIM’s thoughtful, playful music is good for the radio, good for rock, and good for music lovers of all ages who need to carve out a little space to dream.” Becca James of The A.V. Club gave the album a very positive review: “It could be an overstatement to say that if Days Are Gone is any indication of what’s to come for Haim, the band is set.” Matt James of PopMatters complimented all overall production “It’d be hard to truly dislike Haim. They’re an eminently likeable, albeit slightly kooky, trio whose story already bears the frisson of legend. Three multi-talented siblings—Danielle, Alana and Este—who were baptised in the dark arts of rock ‘n’ roll by their own parents” and added […] “It’s not revolutionary, life-changing ‘high art’ but right here, right now Haim’s sassy, enthusiastic, ‘one for all’ joie de vivre feels freshly invigorating, infectious …basically, a drop o’ the good stuff.” Jon Caramanica of New York Times hailed the synthesized and the hooked production and compared the girls to the early years of Madonna, Pat Benatar, Sheena Easton and Laura Branigan: “There’s the slightly sinister bubblyness of early Madonna, the erotic power of Pat Benatar, the breathlessness of Sheena Easton or Laura Branigan,” and continued, “Haim lashes all of these together with force and glee, a rapturous throwback. “Days Are Gone” is as convincing as any major-label rock album this year, especially its first half, which is slick, confident and winningly breezy.” John Dolan of Rolling Stone awarded the album a three and-half-stars out of possible five “Their charming debut recalls the dancy side of Eighties Top 40 radio as an AstroTurf Eden of chewy synths, neon-cheese guitar quake and slick, airy melodies.”
In a less enthusiastic review, Andy Gill of The Independent gave the album three out of five stars, saying that the band has an “insubstantiality at their core.” Philip Matusavage of musicOMH gave a mixed review, commenting, “Stretched to album length, Haim’s shtick grows repetitive and the music is too frequently solid rather than inspired”
Accolades: Stereogum ranked Days Are Gone at number eight on their “The 50 Best Albums of 2013” list, stating: “On their debut album, [Haim] bring Stevie Nicks float, Michael Jackson glide, and Debbie Gibson twinkle to the table, subsuming them all into the massive force of their collective personality. They’re not indie, but if they were, indie would be lucky to have them.”