Words: Saam Das
At the end of last week came the double whammy of the announced shortlist and winners of the BBC Sound Of 2013 poll and our UK blogger alternative, the Blog Sound Of 2013. Can one band be defined as the "sound of" a year? Well, apparently so with LA's Haim topping both polls - finding consensus amongst 250 of the most prominent music commentators in the UK.
The Blog Sound Of poll is generally touted as the alternative to the BBC poll but the overlap this year has been quite significant. (Although perhaps not in a way we can draw many conclusions from.) Seven of the acts in the BBC Sound Of 2013 longlist also featured in the Blog Sound Of 2013. The top fives also proved fairly similar:
Blog Sound Of 2013:
1) Haim 2) CHVRCHES 3=) Savages 3=) Pins 5) The Neighbourhood
BBC Sound Of 2013:
1) Haim 2) AlunaGeorge 3) Angel Haze 4) Laura Mvula 5) CHVRCHES
Of course, one band can't really define a year, or a genre, or a region, or anything really aside from themselves. Their main purpose is to make good music. And the idea of "good music" is rarely shared by so many of the pundits and tastemakers that make up these polls.
So it's a pleasant surprise that one of my favourite bands of 2012 topped the list. In some respects. Haim rode their early wave of hype at the seaside in Brighton at the 2012 Great Escape festival, blowing away the large contingent of UK music industry folk that witnessed their energetic and charming live performances.
Their recorded material has proved similarly enjoyable and well received, with recent B-side 'Send Me Down' perhaps Haim's best track yet. Their incredible melodic fare mixes folk, rock, RnB and even hip hop. Unfortunately, this might be as good as it gets for Haim.
Perhaps that's an overly cynical perspective. However, initial success often eludes such hyped bands. Look at Blog Sound Of 2012 winner, Friends, who sank quickly. It's a similar story over on the BBC poll - will Haim go the way of BBC Sound Of 2009, Little Boots, or the way of BBC Sound Of 2008, Adele? We just don't know.
The BBC Sound Of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka hasn't had a bad year, selling over 500,000 copies of his Mercury nominated debut album, 'Home Again'. If Haim can get anywhere near that level of critical and commercial success, I'd be happy. Now if only I could figure out if their name should be in capitals or not...
Find more info on the BBC Sound Of poll at bbc.co.uk.