Something to Tell You
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Adding a little indie edge to their perfect pop
Can you sound too perfect?
It’s a question that Haim — the sunny sisters, singer-guitarist Danielle, guitarist Alana and bassist Este Haim — must run into a lot. The harmonies on their surprising 2013 debut “Days Are Gone” were so immaculate, as they harked back to the ’70s rock of The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, that it almost felt too good to be true.
For their follow-up, “Something to Tell You” (Columbia), the Haim sisters have added a bit of an edge, with help from producers/collaborators Ariel Rechtshaid and Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij.
Even the first single, “Want You Back,” where the harmonies eventually grow into a gleaming tower of stacked vocals rising skyward, Haim looks to shake the classic-rock feel by adding a modern twist, in this case, a bit of R&B phrasing. On “Little of Your Love,” they turn a simple girl-group outing on its head, with wild guitar riffs, echoing production and stray bits of noise. “Ready for You” is structured like ’90s R&B, until the sunny guitar chords and weird vocal-melting bridge kick in.
“You Never Knew” finds Danielle sounding most like Christine McVie on the verses, aided by a synth sound that seems pulled straight from “Tango in the Night,” before they move to a verse that feels like it should be on Carly Rae Jepsen’s last album.
Occasionally, it seems like all the additional instrumentation is simply there to distract from the harmonies, when the song would have been better served by removing the harmonies and letting Danielle (or another Haim) sing it alone, like in the ironically titled “Found It in the Silence,” which is overstuffed on every level. But all that inventiveness keeps “Something to Tell You” from sliding into the predictable blandness that eventually comes with consistently pretty harmonies. And it makes Haim an unfettered success.