Like every other card carrying millennial, I was disappointed when HAIM delayed their upcoming third album, the aptly titled Women in Music Pt. III, due to concerns arising from COVID-19. Is there nothing that this novel coronavirus cannot ruin? The pain of this delay is made all the greater by the album’s absolutely killer first single, “The Steps”, and so, to alleviate some of the misery brought about by a global pandemic that has completely upended my middle-American life, I decided to try to find a substitute album full of the kind of immaculate summer pop that HAIM has so deftly defined these last few years.
And, goddammit you guys, I found it.
When My Heart Felt Volcanic, the debut full-length from The Aces, is a collection of 13 absolutely banging summer jams. (Well, 12 banging summer jams and the shockingly satisfying ballad “Hurricane.”) Released in 2018, When My Heart Felt Volcanic had the kind of success that can best be described by noting that the album itself doesn’t have its own Wikipedia page. Which is low-key astonishing to me because this record is filled with sharp pop gems, including a half-dozen songs that feel like they could have been absolutely massive hits. “Fake Nice”, “Lovin’ is Bible” and “Holiday” are Grade A pop tracks full of bouncy grooves and tight melodies while songs like album bookends “Volcanic Love” and “Waiting for You” offer substantial craftsmanship and refined melodic sensibilities. The album’s two finest moments, though, are “Stay”, which shimmies like the finest ’80s-tinged hit singles of Paramore and The 1975, and “Last One”, whose earworm chorus is made all the more unforgettable by its excellent and infectiously pastel music video.
If it took a HAIM delay for me to find this record, it was worth it.