The LA trio’s first two albums offered glossy pop-rock – but Women in Music Pt. III is rawer. It has less of a sheen.
Este, Danielle and Alana Haim played their first gig 20 years ago, at Canter’s Jewish deli in their hometown of Los Angeles. The sisters were 13, ten and eight respectively. Este wore sparkly jeans, Danielle had butterfly clips in her hair, and all three were paid in matzo ball soup. Recently the band, properly established as Haim in 2007, returned to Canter’s for a live-streamed set to mark the release of their third album, Women in Music Pt. III. This time around the sisters drank tequila and raised several thousand dollars for the Bail Project.
It seems right that Haim celebrated their new album – which they affectionately call “wimpiii” – with a homecoming of sorts. For though it is a bracingly experimental record, in which the multi-instrumentalists foray into multiple genres over 16 tracks, it is also their most intimate work yet. Where Days Are Gone (2013) and Something to Tell You (2017) offered glossy pop-rock – their catchy rhythms owing as much to contemporary R&B as their retro choruses did to Fleetwood Mac – Women in Music Pt. III is rawer. It has less of a sheen.
Its title is a sassy front, a rebuttal to journalists who ask “What’s it like being women in the music industry?”, which the sublime “Man From the Magazine” explores with quintessential wit. But the song doesn’t play for laughs. Its layered acoustic guitars ache with a despair never previously heard from Haim.