‘Multidimensional and bold’
Hannah Browne
13:28 25th June 2020

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Organic but not in the slightest bit reactive, Haim have always made music on their terms. With their first album, 2013’s Days Are Gone, staking a recognisable sound which glides between styles so seamlessly, Women in Music Pt.III (WIMPIII) – full of poignancy, vulnerability and personality – is a leap that doesn’t feel like a risk.

Three years since sophomore album Something to Tell You and one coronavirus-induced postponement later, the third record is highly worth the wait. Carefully produced with long-time collaborators Rostam Batmanglij (ex-Vampire Weekend) and Ariel Rechtshaid, Haim keenly remain masters of their rhythm. WIMPIII summarises everything the LA-sister-trio have always been about, whilst they welcome new sonic tangents.

The opening moments of the album allot an unanticipated saxophone riff before switching to a steady head-bopping drumbeat that becomes the backbone of ‘Los Angeles’. “Los Angeles, give me a miracle, I just want out from this” ironically toys with the notion of leaving their roots behind whilst simultaneously infecting its listener with a So-Cal vibe. 

As the album unfolds, the group master a juxtaposition of heavy themes against fuzzy grooves. 808 beats, auto-tuned vocals and snippy electronics lead synth-heavy ‘I Know Alone’ as another wide-eyed dose of experimentation. The track confronts lead vocalist Danielle’s battle with depression whilst presenting itself as highly stylistic. It’s a delineation from their once polished sound, yet these moments where Haim abandon the soft-rock safety net are notable high points - embracing sax-pop (‘Summer Girl’), country influences (‘The Steps’) and quasi R&B (‘3AM’). Melodies, lyricism and ideas are piled high throughout WIMPIII, fused with powerful instrumentation and Danielle’s lead vocals at the forefront.

‘Man In The Magazine’ sees the trio at their most acoustic point on the album as they snap back at any misogyny presented upon them. Yet, instead of causing a ruckus to prove their ‘worth’, Haim eye roll at the critics and, instead, echo their presence through the low-key art of simplicity. This irony extends to the record’s title too – a tongue-in-cheek poke at any person treating themselves and their industry counterparts as a novelty in the twenty-first century.

WIMPIII proves Haim as a band in complete control. Having freed themselves from being received merely as ‘girls with guitars’ or ‘female-fronted’, Haim revel in the satire of ‘women in music’. A few tracks do miss the mark and could be removed with no real consequence, yet Haim are curious to go off the beaten track in favour of something far greater. Women in Music Pt.III is multidimensional and bold, showing the group high on their original supply of talent as they extend beyond any point they had left to prove.

Women in Music Pt.III is released on 26 June 2020 via Polydor. 

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