The Japanese House – ‘Good At Falling’ review

The solo electro-pop musician was an enigma when she first arrived, but this accomplished debut album makes damn sure you won’t forget her

In 2015, Amber Bain – aka The Japanese House – released her debut EP ‘Pools To Bathe In’. At this point, her moniker was shrouded in mystery, with the EP being released alongside limited press images and as a result got fan’s tongues wagging about who The Japanese House actually was; but one thing that people agreed on was that her four-song collection of glitchy indietronica was excellent.

Over the past few years, Bain has dropped three more gorgeous EPs, her glorious own brand of shimmering electropop getting stronger as she has further found her artistic voice. Now these releases have culminated in Bain’s debut album, ‘Good At Falling’, a glittering record stuffed full of gleaming, brilliantly honest songs.

‘Good at Falling’ follows the entirety of a relationship. Through its 13 songs, Bain takes you from first introductions to the dizzying highs of love, onto the anxiety inducing pre-breakup and the crushing heartache of it all ending. It draws from Bain’s life in a way she hasn’t done before, which has resulted in her most personal and vulnerable release yet.

Opening with ‘Went To Meet Her (Intro)’, it’s evident Bain has kicked it up a notch for her first full length album. Showcasing her trademark layered vocals and hiccupping electronics, it’s somewhere between Bon Iver’s ’22, A Million’ and Charli XCX’s ‘Track 10’. The album flicks between these synthesised sounds and pop hooks that hark back to the heydays of The Beach Boys.

‘Maybe You’re the Reason’ is a gorgeous, gooey love song, as Bain admits, “I think I’m dying / ‘Cause this can’t be living” – but then we get to the euphoric chorus in which she concedes to the redemptive quality of romantic love. Meanwhile ‘We Talk all the Time’ is a hammering depiction of a relationship unravelling. “We don’t fuck anymore / But we talk all the time so it’s fine,” Bain argues over woozy electronics and skittering beats. Heartbreakingly frank, it’s an emotional punch to the gut wrapped up in dazzling instrumentals that elegantly swell and fade away.

From the earth shattering ‘Lilo’ to the radio ready hooks of ‘You Seemed so Happy’, ‘Good at Falling’ is a stunning and emotive debut. People may have been wondering who Bain was when she first released music, but on her debut album she’s made damn sure you won’t forget her.

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