Online editor Stephen Ong reviews HAIM’s debut single for their upcoming album
The pop-rock band HAIM are back, with an uncharacteristically mellow song. ‘Summer Girl’ is undeniably a summer song, but one made for laidback days in the sun, as opposed to playlist material for barbecues and road trips. When Danielle Haim’s voice enters the mix of drums and a bass, singing, ‘L.A. on my mind, I can’t breathe,’ she establishes the song’s breezy nature; the longing for California is, essentially, a longing for relaxation.
‘Summer Girl’ owes a fair amount of its warmth to producers Rostam and Ariel Rechtshaid (who the song is written for), who notably produced HAIM’s last album Something To Tell You and Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City together. The double-tracked bass, saxophone and sparse guitars give ‘Summer Girl’ its languid atmosphere. Despite this, the song is anything but forgettable, drawing heavily from Lou Reed’s classic ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ to great effect, as the ‘do do’s of the hook sound familiar yet fresh.
‘Summer Girl’ is undeniably a summer song, but one made for laidback days in the sun
The meandering nature of ‘Summer Girl’ eventually takes a turn when Danielle Haim states, ‘walk beside me, not behind me’, a simple declaration of love that gives way to a saxophone solo, backed by Este and Alana Haim’s vocals, while Danielle Haim sings, ‘I can see the angels coming down / like a wave that’s crashing on the ground’ underneath the many layers. Just as the waves evoke the angels of Danielle Haim’s imagination, the song’s eventual optimism gives ‘Summer Girl’ its understated mellow resonance, and makes it the perfect teaser for HAIM’s third album.