Plenty of artists just now are releasing albums of synth heavy indie pop. The risk of being instantly forgotten among all those voices clamoring for the same space leaves you wondering whether steering clear of indie pop expressionism all together would be the better option for any promising musician.
Thankfully for us all, Amber Bain of The Japanese House has stuck with her instincts on debut album Good at Falling. She’s right to as well, having refined her style and writing over four EPs in as many years.
The result is an album which is atmospheric and evocative, with a real depth and sense of enchantment to it. Bain doesn’t sound like an artist still finding their feet. While singing about personal self doubt, she radiates musical confidence.
Highlights on Good at Falling include ‘Maybe You’re The Reason‘, where Bain stands out from her contemporaries thanks to a more nuanced approach to her genre’s trademark sounds; and ‘We Talk all the Time‘, a track which is perfectly balanced. Not too dense or complicated, but never sparse, it exemplifies perfectly Bain’s songwriting style.
The lyrical content explores the endgame of a relationship, coming to accept the state of affairs almost without realising, and despite there being only one clear and obvious conclusion, feeling a reluctance and remorse over moving towards it.
We hear another side to The Japanese House on ‘You Seemed So Happy‘, where the guitars and drums are higher in the mix, producing a more optimistic, indie-pop, Bombay Bicycle Club-esque bopper. It’s catchy, and acts as a nice interlude to the synth heavy tracks surrounding it. Similarly, ‘somethingfartoogoodtofeel‘ has elements of HAIM to it. It sounds like an odd comparison, but the way the track takes on a country music swing is very reminiscent of the LA trio.
‘Lilo‘ wraps you up with sumptuous production, leaving you in a state of dreamy relaxation. It’s contrasted wonderfully by ‘Everybody Hates Me‘, a schizophrenic song which marries stripped back verses with deep, soaring choruses which seem to fill you up with warm bass tones.
Good at Falling is a seriously satisfying listen from start to finish. The overtones of heartbreak and melancholy are balanced by moments of hope, sublime production, and mesmerising lyrics to offer something truly different to The Japanese House‘s contemporaries.
Sounds Like… forty four minutes of pop perfection.