CD: Haim - Something to Tell You The Californian sisters are back, but will they continue to charm a
Back in 2013, Haim's debut seemed like the freshest breath of air in a slightly stuffy rock scene. The girls' inimitable musical style – a kind of blend of Stevie Nicks and Shania Twain – lit up any number of radio playlists. Equally important was their air of authenticity. These three musical prodigies from LA were literally sisters and literally doing it for themselves. But there were still nagging doubts – particularly after one TV performance which they, rather oddly, dedicated to David Cameron. For all their hippy hairstyles were the girls actually as free-spirited as they seemed?
Something to Tell You indicates that the trio may not be quite as bohemian as their sartorial style suggests. The guiding principle during the album's lengthy gestation seems to have been to iron out every inch of quirkiness. The result is an album which is mostly fine – sometimes even better – but which is also very middle-of-the-road. Gone are the off-centre melodies of "The Wire" and "Don't Save Me" and in their place we find hooks and choruses so polished you can practically see your face in them.
Of course, not everybody will consider this a bad thing. Fans of American FM rock, for instance, will love the Fleetwood Mac vibe on "Nothing's Wrong", an influence so strong you can hardly believe that Nicks and Buckingham aren't lurking somewhere in there. There are also a handful of tracks bound to delight TV producers looking for soundtrack material. "Little of Your Love" and "Want You Back" have a kind of summery feel that evokes the lives of beautiful people. It's achieved with a mix of power-pop and adult-orientated rock. And therein the lies the rub. Something to Tell You bids farewell to the girls' greatest asset. It is the work of slick, professional grown-ups. What made their debut so well-loved, on the other hand, was its air of gauche naivety.