Reviews for HAIM’s pair of performances on this week’s “Saturday Night Live” epitomized the word mixed.
Fans of the trio applauded the band for staying true to itself and breathing its quirky, welcome breath of fresh air into a mainstream television environment. Sisters Alana, Este and Danielle performed their “The Wire” and “Don’t Save Me” without reservation and without compromise. If their unique enthusiasm, vocal delivery and stage mannerisms were enough to attract new fans, great.
If not, HAIM would not have disappointed its army of supporters in the process.
For many unfamiliar observers, however, the performance was a bit jarring. The songs were unfamiliar. The vocals were strangely choppy and affected. The facial expressions were over the top. Though criticism did not run as deep as it did for Lana Del Rey, many viewers–from random Tweeters to recognizable television critics–failed to process the alt-pop throwback.
Irrefutably polarizing, the band’s performances on the show, which was hosted by “The Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson, will not be enough to rocket the critical darlings into mainstream superstardom.
They definitely did, however, garner HAIM new supporters. Shortly after the performance, “The Wire” crept into the Top 100 on iTunes. At press time, more than 24 hours after the band’s “SNL” gig, the song was still situated at number 79.
The ascent is the product of only a few thousand sales, and even that small amount of buzz will cool off in the immediate term, but it does mean that some unfamiliar music buyers took notice. And given the wealth of digestible songs on its “Days Are Gone” album and the band’s even larger treasure chest of potential, its chance for making a meaningful impact on the mainstream is definitely not over.
The performances are below: