Perhaps not since the breakout of Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men has there been so much hype swirling around a band when their debut album has yet to be released. Even so, the sibling girl act known simply by their last name “Haim” has been dominating the blogosphere, showing up on a ridiculous number of bands-to-watch list (including ours), landing tour slots with the likes of Mumford & Sons and Florence + The Machine, creating a stir at SXSW, and generally building a great deal of buzz around them—all without the benefit of having a debut album to promote.
That’s not to say Haim are newcomers. For the past several years, twenty-something sisters Este, Alana and Danielle (along with drummer Dash Hutton) have been building a solid following in the LA music scene and on the Interwebs through lots of live gigs and hard work, along with releasing a limited amount of recorded music. Recently signing to Columbia in the US and Polydor in the UK, for the past six months or so Haim have basically been teasing us with singles and music videos while promising a full length release, which is currently slated to drop this spring. (Finally.)
So what is it about Haim that has captured our imagination? Their sound is a blend of pop and R&B vaguely reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac, catchy, though not remarkably progressive, experimental or “new” by most standards. Furthermore, compared to most emerging pop/rock acts, they are fairly unassuming, not at all giving off a bigger-than-life type of vibe. So what are they doing right, and why are they able to generate so much buzz?
Perhaps it’s a combination of things. Perhaps it’s partly due to the fact that the public seems to have a soft spot in general for sister acts. Perhaps is the fact that they aren’t bigger-than-life like the others; maybe the whole girls-next-door thing is a breath of fresh air, so we feel like when they play, we’re watching the neighborhood kids playing in their garage (only they actually sound really good).
But there’s likely even more to their appeal. Remember, Haim has built their reputation largely by consistent, solid live performances—and those who have seen them live know they are naturals on stage. They’ve worked hard to become good at their instruments and tight with their harmonies. In short—they are very, very good at what they do, and the more people that have watched them perform, the more anticipation is built for their record. It’s a perfect example of a point I often like to make about new bands: you don’t always have to show up with the next, newest sound or musical style; you just need to be excellent with the sounds you make. The public will always dig great music.
And so, we sit here with baited breath, waiting for Haim’s much-anticipated first album to drop. I, for one, can’t wait.