First Impressions: HAIM, Niall Horan, LCD Soundsystem And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 05/09/2017

First Impressions are our weekly roundtable reviews sifting through all the fresh new music. Our writers take a listen, slap a score on it and then justify said score. This week HAIM, Lil Yachty, Niall Horan, Akouo, Halsey and LCD Soundsystem face the jury.

HAIM - Want You Back

Dominique: I’m immediately swept into this song. It’s catchy, I’m into the sound of the vocals, I’m bopping along. I’ve been a fan of HAIM since Days Are Gone, and don’t get me wrong, this isn’t my favourite track from them, but you know what? I’m interested, it’s got depth and I wanna listen all the way til the end. I’m into the electric sounds and funky bass accompanying the vocals and traditional piano. All in all, I’m excited and curious to hear the new album. 3

Annie: This is easy listening, and overtly inoffensive. There’s nothing really here to make me want to revisit it, but I can’t argue against it being a good track. It does kind of give the feeling that it’s leading up to something, something that never really arrives, but regardless of that it’s a pretty good output for Haim. 3

Sam: I love a comeback single that starts with the vocals straight outta the gates, so I was instantly sold with this one. HAIM are the queens of melodies and harmonies and this is basically a masterclass in how to deliver both of those. It’s a flawless pop song that I’m really struggling to find any fault with. It’s a slight shift in sound from Days Are Gone while still maintaining those loveable qualities. It feels like they never left which is a good thing. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Average Score: 3.5

Niall Horan - Slow Hands

Dominique: It’s a little country folk in the vocals, but honestly that’s about all that’s interesting with this tune. I feel like I’m waiting for something a little dirtier, a beat to drop, a change in pitch, ANYTHING to pique my interest. I get it, he’s gone with the whole sexual lyric thing, but how does this translate in the music? It’s another cleanly produced pop song, ripe and ready for the $$$ to roll in. 2

Annie: I really didn’t want to like this more than Sign of the Times, but I have to say Niall did a bang up job here. It’s funny listening to any of the guys from 1D sing sexual lyrics, considering their PG past and tween fandom- but Niall delivers this song in a way that doesn’t make me cringe, so kudos to him. 4

Sam: I would’ve been very happy not to hear this at all off the back of This Town but it rolled past my ears on Friday and I’m glad it did. This should’ve been the first single. It’s instantly likeable and does not possess any ability to put you to sleep unlike This Town. It even makes Niall sound charismatic in parts which is no mean feat. Very impressive. 4

Average Score: 3.3

Lil Yachty - Bring It Back

Dominique: Straight up not a fan. Asides from the obscene amount of autotune, it sounds like he’s had a few too many and decided to hit up some karaoke on a night out… but it’s his own song... There’s nothing going on with the lyrics, it’s just downright repetitive. I’m actually angry at how bad this is. It’s irritating. Don’t “bring it back”, because I’m instating a no-returns policy. 1

Annie: Lil Yachty is attractive in the most disgusting way, and I honestly just can’t hate him. Objectively, this song isn’t good. I have no idea what he’s saying, I don’t know if he’s intentionally off-beat or if it’s an artistic choice. But it’s so bad, that I know I’m going to be playing this in every drunken uber ride I take for the next couple of months. So, I guess it’s excellent in its novelty. 3

Sam: At every point in this song I feel like he’s about to fall off the wagon but he keeps it together for the whole thing and delivers a smash. At times, it sounds off time, at others, it could be out of pitch but there’s something strangely enticing about hearing Yachty deliver an ‘80s prom jam. It’s genuinely enjoyable and I find myself liking it for all the reasons that I could also hate it for. Dammit Yachty, why must you divide my small mind? 4

Average Score: 2.6

Halsey - Eyes Closed

Dominique: OOOOO yes. I’m involved. I’m swept up. I’m living it. This is a legit banger. I’m so into Halsey’s unique vocals as well as the electrifying beat of this tune. Even the bassline, damn. I know I’m going to be playing this every day on loop for a while. 4

Annie: Halsey is on the same level as T-Swift for me in terms of artists I irrationally hate, but feel completely justified in hating. I don’t know what it is about her, but everytime I listen to her my reaction can best be summarised with a ‘:/’ face. This song is fine. There’s not much going on but it’s still a thousand times better than ‘Closer’, so I guess that’s something. 2.5

Sam: Why does every new Halsey song sound like it’s been produced within an inch of its life? I’m honestly not a Halsey fan at all but I understand why she’s developed such a cult following. It’s for that reason that I can’t really understand why it feels like every bit of her personality has been ironed out here. Where Now Or Never at least had a pretty intoxicating melody, this one feels totally cold. 2

Average Score: 2.83

Akouo - Feel That (Feat. Montaigne)

Dominique: YES love a bit of Montaigne! I love her voice! It’s kind of operatic yet soft in this one. It’s so different to her own music too, but it really works. This collab was meant to be, born straight out of the gates of heaven. It’s sweet, angelic and catchy. Viiibbbbbingggg hard. 4 Dominique's Pick

Annie: Montaigne could sing anything and I would be down. In fact, she should cover Lil Yachty’s ‘Bring it Back’, it would become a masterpiece. This collab works really well, and hopefully will get the kind of traction it deserves. 4 Annie’s Pick

Sam: Man, those opening vocals from Montaigne are some of the best I’ve ever heard her deliver. She can be so brilliant when she restrains herself a little bit and the brooding, soul diva-enabling instrumental that Akouo throws down demands that sort of delivery. This is hypnotising in every single way. 4

Average Score: 4

LCD Soundsystem - Call The Police

Dominique: This starts with a funky bass line, some catchy guitar, some very familiar sounding vocals, and I’m here. I’m ready for this ride. I very much enjoy the synths, paying there’s an attention-grabbing narrative present in the lyrics. I really like this. It’s reminiscent of 80s pop blended with 90s/00s indie rock but it doesn’t sound tired. It has an emotional element that carries me through till the end, and that’s saying something because it goes for a lengthy seven minutes. 4

Annie: I recently started getting into LCD Soundsystem after a long bout of ‘not getting it’, so I’m here for this. The only bone I have to pick with this track is the length, I’m a big advocate for songs never lasting longer than 5 minutes. But that definitely is on my short attention span, and not LCD Soundsystem. 4

Sam: LCD Soundsystem’s return could’ve very easily made them sound like has beens but this puts them right back in the driver’s seat. Seven minutes of furious, frantic anthem-making that sounds like a instant classic from the first listen. James Murphy is a genius. A genius that looks like a dishevelled business man but a genius, no less. 4.5

Average Score: 4.16

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