Photo: Jim Mangan
Indie electronic project The Japanese House is back with her debut full-length album, and you absolutely need to hear it. Fronted by Buckinghamshire native Amber Bain, The Japanese House has accumulated quite the cult following over the years. Best known for her song, "Saw You In A Dream," which has seen tens of millions of streams since its release, Bain is known for her dreamy, experimental take on pop music.
Since her debut 2015 EP, Pools To Bathe In, she has released three EPs, most recently dropping singles teasing her first full-length album. From its rich production elements to lavish vocal layering and profound lyricism, Good At Falling is a diverse collection of songs that establish The Japanese House as a force to be reckoned with.
Good At Falling kicks off with "went to meet her," a song stylistically drenched in autotune over an engaging background track. It is grounded by the persistent presence of tribal drums and ends with a moment of reflection as a pulsing synth slowly drops in pitch.
Following on the otherworld intro, "Maybe You're the Reason," which was previously released a single is a perfect bit of dark electropop. The vibe of this one is delightfully '80s, swimming with reverbed-out guitar. This one is easy to picture being performed live, as Bain sings, "I keep looking for something, even though I know it's not there/ Maybe you're the reason/ Every time I try to figure it out, you're the only thing I can think about/ Maybe you're the reason."
"We Talk All The Time" comes next, complete with an Imogen Heap-level of vocal layering and longing lyrics. Bain sings of a relationship on the outs, changes of heart, and the desire for a fresh start. "Wild" chases "We Talk All The Time," relaxing into a deep groove a little over a minute into the song. Bain hits the vocal line with a fourth interval over and over again, building tension before being met with tasteful vocal chops.
"You Seemed So Happy" takes a slight detour from the moodiness of the previous tracks, and melodically impresses on the pre-chorus. Seriously - this one has the kind of vocal line that merits putting it on repeat. "Follow My Girl" flaunts The Japanese House trope of popping in and out of falsetto effortlessly. The lyrics outline seeking a sense of direction, as Bain sings, "Someone gave me guidance, and for once I took it."
The next track, "somethingfartoogoodtofeel" begins with a pool of sound, diving into lush reversed audio bites and effectively creating an otherworldly feel. Between the push and pull of upbeat and relaxed tempo, Bain shows off her vocal range and enlists the ethereal quality of a heavy vocoder.
You might have already heard "Lilo," as the previously released single has already racked up well over four-million streams on Spotify. The melody is destined to get lodged in your head, with its echoing lyrics, "And Gemma told me that she met someone/ It was the person I’d been counting on/ It felt good, it felt transitional, a feeling I’d been waiting on."
"Everybody Hates Me" is delightfully different from anything else on the album with jazzy chords and gritty delivery. Beginning and ending with simplicity, the middle section of the song accurately portrays the mental chaos that accompanies self-doubt.
Choirs across the world are about to cover "Marika Is Sleeping." Melodically genius, this song pulls at every inch of emotion in the human psyche. With a lovely instrumental between vocal sections, "Marika Is Sleeping" pulls off a cohesive flow without a strict adherence to form.
"Worms" comes next, possessing a commercially appealing chorus blended with the same offbeat elements that give The Japanese House their cult following. "F a r a w a y" follows, which has a familiar melody, almost sounding like something from an early Beatles record. The song is short in length but powerful lyrically as Bain confesses, "She makes me wonder what I'm doing, spending all these seconds away from her."
The final song on the album is a reworking of The Japanese House's most popular song, "Saw You In A Dream." This version is far more intimate - the kind of song we all wish someone would write for us.
Take a listen yourself to the ethereal debut album below:
All in all, Good At Falling is everything and more we had hoped for the first full-length album from The Japanese House. Bain will hit the road in support of her album in April, in addition to playing select dates supporting The 1975.
4/29 - Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
4/30 - Milwaukee, WI - The Back Room at Colectivo
5/01 - Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line
5/03 - Kansas City, MO - Riot Room
5/04 - Denver, CO - Marquis Theater
5/05 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
5/07 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
5/08 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
5/09 - Vancouver, BC - Fortune Sound Club
5/11 - San Francisco, CA - August Hall
5/13 - Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda
5/14 - San Diego, CA - Voodoo Room
5/15 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
5/16 - El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Palace
5/18 - Austin, TX - The Parish
5/19 - Dallas, TX - Deep Ellum Art Co
5/20 - Houston, TX - Bronze Peacock at House of Blues
5/21 - New Orleans, LA - Gasa Gasa
5/23 - Atlanta, GA - Terminal West
5/24 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
5/25 - Washington, DC - Black Cat
5/26 - Philadelphia, PA - The Foundry
5/27 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
5/29 - Darien Center, NY - Darien Lake Amphitheater*
5/30 - Boston, MA - Agganis Arena*
5/31 - Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair
6/01 - Montreal, QE - l'Astral
6/03 - Toronto, ON - Budweiser Stage*
* w/ The 1975