LONG-AWAITED debut albums can be a tricky proposition. Normally the case these days is that an act have a fully-formed set of songs ready to go by the time they're signed and they're rushed into the studio in order to capitalise on whatever media momentum may have built up behind them. This, however, has not been the case with Californian siblings Haim.
Word of how Danielle, Este and Alana Haim were blending classic West Coast harmonies with 80s song structures and a modern R'n'B sensibility first began to cause a stir in the early part of 2012. The magnificent Forever racked up thousands of hits on their website and by the time Polydor signed them and released Don't Save Me at the end of that year appetites were well and truly whetted.
One of the most deliciously melodic and ingeniously constructed pop songs I'd heard in years, Don't Save Me should surely have heralded a triumphant debut from the talented musicians. But, for whatever reasons, the debut kept being put back, despite further pop gems making their way into the public domain in the shape of Falling and the magnificent The Wire.
So, when Days Are Gone finally appeared in the shops last week why did it feel like a relative disappointment?
Live, the band are effervescent, not to mention supremely accomplished musicians, but the album feels as if it's been tinkered with to within an inch of its life.
Certainly, with four already familiar songs in the running order the tendency is to concentrate on what you don't already know and only four of the remaining seven songs really hit the spot.
Oh alright, eight killer tracks on an 11-track album is more than pretty good going but still Days Are Gone doesn't feel like the triumph it should have been. I suspect that Haim's true instincts were compromised here, but there's more than enough time, and talent, to offer hope for the future.
Days Are Gone is out now and tickets for Haim's March gig in the Olympia went on sale yesterday.
> George Byrne