Festivals are ruining acts.
That’s one of the take-homes from the new Haim album, Something To Tell You. A sister trio that started riding the wave of nostalgia now seem to be very much swallowed up in it, the line between homage and parody being very hard to distinguish on this surprisingly, well, cheesy new album.
Want You Back, of course, is still a restrained triumph. But it’s after that first song that everything begins to go south, figuratively and geographically. You can hear the strains to be the next Summer of 69 (by way of Fleetwood Mac, of course) on Nothing’s Wrong. It’s arguably one of the most disappointing songs they’ve ever done, obvious in both structure and arrangement, one that takes their fresh band of road-pop and turns it middle-of-the-road instead.
The title track errs on the right side of Wilson Phillips, but the message is pretty obvious by this point. Haim suddenly ache of wanting to please the festival crowd, but the sort that’s populated by the same people who’d attempt a Trump rally. The sisters take cues from the country-pop side on Little Of Your Love and Ready For You (even though there’s a surprising play-around with key here), while you can practically sniff the biker waistcoat next to you by the time You Never Knew rolls around. It’s clear what they’re trying to do, but they’ve cashed in their cool as a result.
Still, this is Haim. Those harmonies are still irresistible in a product that’s polished as hell, even if there isn’t a big standout moment (their attempt to lay down strings and go for scale on Found It In Silence is yet another misstep). The biggest surprise is their R&B moment on Walking Away, a song so delightfully inventive that you have to question whether you’re still listening to the same band. It’s the one track that your dad will hate but, trust us, for the rest of it he’ll be queuing semi-first by the time they headline Isle Of Wight in a few years.