The title “Want You Back” might be a nod from Haim to listeners who, in the four years since the Los Angeles trio released their debut Days Are Gone, have craved the return of the last new rock band that the mythical “everybody” can love. Haim fans—whose ranks include mainstreamers U2, Taylor Swift, and Hillary Clinton but also alt types like Pitchfork and Grimes—wanted them back, and now they have them back. The single released today, from their forthcoming album Something to Tell You (July 7), keeps Haim’s remarkably distinct sound intact, though there is something—perhaps worryingly—that’s different.
As always, the Haim blend involves ’80s and ’90s pop radio elements: In “Want You Back” you may hear echoes of Fleetwood Mac, Prince, Wilson Phillips, and, thanks to some quality I can’t quite identify, even Def Leppard. But just as important to their act is a sense of spring-loaded complexity, with the three sisters locking together syllables (often in odd, little rapid-fire phrases) and beats (a skittering high hat, a trademark of Days Are Gone, returns here). All this machine really needs to succeed in its task is a memorable vocal phrase to repeat and modulate until it seems as familiar as a folk standard, and they’ve hit upon one here with a chorus full of yearning and pitter-patter.