Sharing the chevelure and initial letters with Hanson, it should be obvious to draw a comparison between the boy band darlings of the 90’s and girl group Haim. Yet, there is an originality of difference between the two. Where Hanson obliged to the commercial conventions of popular music, Haim rather makes a virtue out of retaining their own original sound.
The signature elements of tom-tom drum fills, conspicuous guitar riffs and middle sister Danielle’s timeless vocal, the genealogy of which shows traces of Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl) and Alanis Morrisette, indicates that the sisters respectfully recognize their influences, yet is also given the postmodern privilege of patterning the puzzle in new ways, most obvious in the at times unfavourable overtones of subsequent overdubbing.
Exactly the ratio between electronic and acoustic elements influences their sound for better or worse. Most recent single ‘The Wire’ serves to illustrate; if one listens to the more than a year old demo of the song on YouTube, you will hear a much more stripped down and less mastered version of the track than the official single released about a month ago. Though it might be put down to their choice of record label, that of international conglomerate Universal, the excessive postproduction appears a little redundant taking the sisters’ – all of whom are proficient on more than one instrument – musical mastery into consideration.
Growing up in a hypermusical family in San Fernando Valley, a place mostly known for its favourable weather conditions as well as being home to the adult industry, the girls’ talent is nature-given. Copenhagen concertgoers got more than a glimpse of this genetic coherence at the group’s August gig at Lille Vega, where the three sisters sang, played and charmed their way into the hearts of the crowd. Also the attendants got to have experience big sister Este’s (in)famous ‘bassface’ firsthand, the scapegoat of many a meme and gif, that in inscrutable ways probably has helped the group reach an even greater and perhaps unlikely audience.
With their debut album released today it seems like the perfect time after names like Twin Shadow, Kindness and Blood Orange have primed the ground and forefronted the turn towards the retro-sound of the late 70’s and 80’s. Likewise these acts, Haim represents a turn away from the pompous and perfectionism surrounding many artists on the contemporary music scene with their sympathetic and down-to earth attitude. A dimension in which they could actually resemble the Hanson-brothers.