Haim, Shacklewell Arms – Evening Standard 15 May 2012

As they came to the close of a brief tour of London’s tiniest venues, the “three sisters and a mister” who make up Los Angeles quartet Haim must have realised this will be the last time British fans will see them playing next to the lavatory door.

With a major label record deal soon to be confirmed and buzz built at both the influential Texan music festival SXSW and last weekend’s Brighton equivalent, The Great Escape, great heights are imminent.

Here they proved why. Just six tracks on the setlist, including a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well, meant they didn’t have much to work with. While middle sibling Danielle Haim vanished to change a guitar string, there was time for a filthy anecdote about predictive text messaging from oldest sister Este, which got louder applause than some of the songs.

More minutes were added with a terrific climax to the last song, Let Me Go, which saw those two, plus the youngest, Alana, and unrelated drummer Dash Hutton, all bashing individual drums with abandon.

Earlier compositions showed their songwriting strengths. Honey and I started with soft, sunny chords and accelerated to a thrilling conclusion. Other songs, such as the dramatic Better Off and the intricately harmonised Forever, started with bright melodies and got even better as they reached their breakdowns.

Though it seemed as though band joker Este was mainly visiting London for a different reason (“The ratio of dudes to girls is way off — in my favour,” she announced. “Meet me in the bar afterwards if you want a good snogging.”) this was another worthwhile step towards a seriously successful music career.

If they can get that record deal signed and sealed, watch this space for one of the albums of the year.