Four years since the release of HAIM’s bold debut, Days Are Gone, the sister act return with their sophomore album, Something To Tell You. This album serves as a glorious affirmation that the HAIM sisters embody sophisticated soft rock; effortlessly combining intricate instrumentals with candid lyrics, all the while preserving their laid-back essence.
This record is a manifestation of the sisters’ different understandings of love, with the track listing reflecting various stages of a relationship. The album journeys from ‘Want You Back’, which basks in the warm confidence of a lover prepared to fight for a relationship, to the ultimate, melancholic realisation in ‘Night So Long’ where ‘loneliness’ is the only remaining semblance of a love that once was.
While love is evidently the fulcrum on which this project turns, it does not remain its most essential theme. What emerges instead is a sustained sense of confidence throughout the album, presenting itself in a myriad of forms. It is jubilant and assured in the aforementioned ‘Want You Back’, yet proud amidst the jaunty textures of ‘Ready For You’. ‘Little of Your Love’ champions unadulterated sass with the lyric ‘stop runnin’ your mouth like that, ‘cause you know I’m gonna give it right back’, while ‘Found It In Silence’ espouses confidence in laying a relationship to rest with the mantra ‘there’s no turning back, I know what’s good for me.’
In ‘Something to Tell You’, the speaker grapples with the devastation of having to nudge a relationship toward the brink of collapse. Rather than abandon the speaker in this more vulnerable moment, the album’s trademark confidence provides solace with the line ‘I know you know that it’s no good, but you could never say it first’. The speaker is reassured that they will be the one to find the strength to confront the issues in their relationship.
This confidence permeates throughout every fibre of the album, evident not only in the lyricism, but also in the mood and stylistic choices. The clean, minimalistic beats layered with breathy vocals on ‘Walking Away’, for example, allow the song to stand boldly as the experimental and eccentric sibling of a Top 40 hit while retaining HAIM’s quintessential sound. Furthermore, the Fleetwood Mac inspired track, ‘You Never Knew’, is almost alienating in its cool confidence – you simply must be the owner of an old mustang convertible to unlock the privilege of listening to this song.
In all, this album is the opposite of alienating. It manages to touch on so many aspects of love that its breadth and honesty welcome listeners with open arms. It is simultaneously the reassuring embrace required in the aftermath of a heartbreak and the dance soundtrack of a delirious lover. Although a handful of the songs feel slightly lacklustre on the first listen, they only benefit from this in the long run, slowly growing on the listener, until there can be no doubt that HAIM’s return was well worth the four year wait.