It's not all SoCal sunshine, though

By Jonathan Bernstein
July 05, 2017 at 06:52 PM EDT

When HAIM arrived in 2013 with Days Are Gone, a stylish yet accessible blend of electronic beats and classic rock shredding, the trio of sisters released one of that year’s most confident debut albums. It’s taken them four years to craft a follow-up — an eternity in today’s churn-and-burn culture. But after touring the world and opening up for Rihanna and Taylor Swift (and joining one very famous squad), Alana, Danielle, and Este return with the impeccable Something to Tell You (out July 7).

Here, HAIM deliver 11 songs of expert songwriting and fine-tuned studio trickery that sharpen their jukebox classicism; percussion-based, harmony-heavy West Coast pop-rock is once again the dominant theme. But compared with their debut, Something is less cluttered with ideas and more deliberate about its influences: The R&B strut of “Walking Away” and “Ready for You” nods toward ’90s girl groups, while melodic, richly produced gems like “Nothing’s Wrong” and “Found It in Silence” are adorned in ’70s AM gold.

It’s not all SoCal sunshine, though: On “Night So Long,” Danielle displays her roots as a singer-songwriter with bare-bones emotion — it’s the most gripping tune on an album that explores the contours of heartbreak, desire, and abandonment. But mostly HAIM zero in on what they do best, and the result is a simple and staggering ode to the joy and craftsmanship of American pop. A-