Haim is a group formed by sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim with drummer Dash Hutton. They formed the group in 2006 in Los Angeles, California, but they didn’t actually start releasing music until 2012, taking time to perfect their very distinct sound.
From the opening of “Better Off,” which features the girls harmonizing brilliantly sans music for the first verse, it’s quite obvious that they’ve been influenced by Fleetwood Mac. It’s impossible to listen to that part of the song without recalling Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” That said, the group has many other influences and their sound is not derivative of any particular artist. In fact, when the clamorous beats strike they recall the futuristic R&B of Beyonce’s album 4 and boisterous percussion of Fiona Apple’s debut album Tidal. “You fucked me up, what am I to do now?” they sing, venom in their tone, and it’s not hard to imagine the song being performed with nothing more than an acoustic guitar. Which is to say that their songwriting is rather brilliant and transcends the exquisite production of the track.
The propulsive “Forever” kicks off with more of the resounding type of beats the group is quickly becoming famous for. It has shades of Saint Vincent’s airy but potent early work and Florence & The Machine’s intense percussion. Up until the guitar solo, you’re unlikely to even notice that the song has any guitars because the beats so dominate the mix. But they’re nothing short of compelling and the way they combine with the girls’ rapid-fire vocals is quite marvelous. “Go, go, get out, get out of my memory,” one of the girls insists and it comes off like a grave threat.
“Go Slow” initially has more of a traditional, laid-back R&B beat but as the song progresses the beats grow more resonant and deep-toned. Like the previous two songs, it’s utterly breath-taking. “Was it something that I said?” they sing, their inflections on the lyrics as scathing as a lover’s lament can be.
The EP concludes with a Dan Lissvik Remix of “Forever.” He takes bits and pieces of the song’s beats and other instruments and inserts them around a punchy dance beat with hypnotic results. The vocals basically consist of samples of the girls chanting “hey” along with vocals of his own that he brazenly adds, though it proves to be an entirely successful experiment.
Being that it’s only an EP, and that it’s so early in the group’s career, I’ll refrain from calling this a magnum opus, but I must say it’s quite the masterpiece.