Through two albums, HAIM’s catalog has been breezy, sunshine-filled easy listening. Their latest LP, Women In Music Pt. III, remains highly referential to ’70s soft-rock and is steeped in lush modern production. On this go around, however, the sister trio branches out and pushes their sunny California sound into new territory that recalls ’90s alternative (“The Steps”), aughts R&B (“3 AM”), and dabbles in several other pleasantly surprising styles. They indulge in subtle dance grooves on “I Know Alone” and “Now I’m In It” and even flirt with reggae on “Another Try,” all in a way that is palatable to today’s indie and mainstream pop fans.
At the album’s core are HAIM’s trademark rich harmonies, often coupled with sublime guitar licks or groovy synthesizer chords. The highlights, of which there are many, pull together the band’s well-developed pop-rock skill set and their newfound musical curiosities in seamless fashion; “Gasoline” and “Summer Girl” are two prime examples of the group steering their fun and feel-good jams in a more funky and jazzy direction. As light as HAIM’s music is on the ears, it’s never been this emotionally potent and full of substance. Simply put, these songs, which mainly center on personal hardship and fleeting relationships, are downright infectious.
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