Rating: 7 // 10
Genres: Pop-Rock, Indie-Rock
Released: 26/06/2020, Columbia
HAIM returns with their signature sound of polished pop-flavoured Indie-Rock, offering a solid track listing without reinventing themselves or the genre.
Sister trio HAIM have added to their strong back catalogue of albums with Women in Music Pt. III, their longest project yet.
Whilst this project didn’t quite blow me away, it certainly is a pleasant experience that doesn’t drag on too long – even though it does end up nearing that territory.
The opening leg of the project is definitely the strongest, with the opener Los Angeles featuring a bouncy kick-drum that the carefree track is built upon.
Here at the beginning are the poppier cuts, including the single The Steps. Upbeat yet about a serious topic manner, a relationship where a partner has pretty much given up, it is fairly simple, but features some neat production choices such as the very slight manipulation of the vocals at times.
I Know Alone diverts the album towards a song featuring an ever so slightly drum & bass-esque backing track, yet keeps acoustic elements. Perhaps I’m not doing the best job of describing it, but the more apparent voice manipulation and electronic elements really separates it from everything else on here.
It’s the subtle sound effects and production techniques that add up overall, keeping rather stripped-back indie interesting with more computerised sounds. Up From a Dream returns to a far more “traditional” sound, but during the break down we enter some washed out, sci-fi styled whooshes that really add to the experience.
That is appreciated because this is a very repetitive song thanks to an overused chorus.
My favourite moment is probably the chorus of Gasoline, a gorgeous song that has an emotive bassline tucked in behind the pianos and keys. The drums to me constantly feel detached from the melodies, but not in an obtrusive way – they’re repetitive and reliable, constantly there without much change up.
This also features my favourite harmonies and vocal performances.
We again divert from strict indie-rock as we drift towards the R&B influenced 3AM, which is another personal highlight.
Don’t Wanna, the last released single, is arguably the plainest out of the six songs previewed before the album’s release.
Following from that track is the far more unique Another Try, with a far more creative mix of instruments and sound effects. More disco and dance driven than any other track, especially during the verses, it does stand out on the tracklisting.
More indie and even folk sounds are woven into Leaning On You, a sign of the final few song on here.
They’re all solid songs that don’t break the mould, but definitely leaning more towards filler. All That Ever Mattered has a more spacious and softer-pop feel to it, but apart from that the final tracks are fairly straight-played.
Right at the end is the bizarre addition of the three singles from 2019 added in as bonus tracks. It isn’t a startling change – they fit the theme of the album, but it isn’t possible to listen to the album without them on streaming services.
I haven’t got a huge list of complaints for this record – whilst it comes across as safe in parts it never screams boring to me at all, and never was it anything less than a pleasant listen. However, in terms of progression from their previous albums, there isn’t the clearest of improvements or reinvention.
- Los Angeles (B+)
- The Steps (B+)
- I Know Alone (A-)
- Up From A Dream (B+)
- Gasoline (A+)
- 3AM (A)
- Don’t Wanna (B)
- Another Try (B+)
- Leaning On You (B)
- I’ve Been Down (B)
- Man from the Magazine (B)
- All That Ever Mattered (B)
- FUBT (B-)
- Now I’m In It (B)
- Hallelujah (B-)
- Summer Girl (B)