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Album Review // THE JAPANESE HOUSE ‘Good At Falling’

Love often leaves us at our most vulnerable, but from this vulnerability can arise the most gorgeous pieces of art inspired by our confusion. 

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From the mystery that once used to surround The Japanese House, aka Amber Bain, all of that has dissolved away to allow listeners a crystal-clear insight into her innermost feelings on Good At Falling. It’s a candid reflection of all the confusing emotions brought about by love; there’s questioning, there’s hopeless falling for someone else, and there’s the unavoidable sadness when things don’t quite work out. Sharing her vulnerability with us, it’s a gorgeous piece of work that shines a new light upon the artist.

Opening went to meet her (intro) dives right into the soothing beats and her voice is masked over with a multitude of effects, but from a tumultuous start it morphs into the lulling electronics and breathy vocals that we are accustomed to. Flowing into Maybe You’re The Reason, it’s one of the more optimistic points of the album; mulling upon the strains placed upon us daily, she finds a glimmer of hope in her significant other to keep living. It’s a sad-pop anthem suffused with warmth.

A blunt honesty in We Talk All The Time punches you right in the gut, but the blow is softened by a deceptively upbeat accompaniment. Wrapped in a luminescent candour, it cuts straight to the point as Amber comments ‘We don’t fuck any more but we talk all the time so it’s fine’. Wild detaches itself from the deeply personal perspective we’ve been in thus far, as it ruminates about the exteriors we put on so that ‘they all believe me, I’m such an act’. There’s a juxtaposition between the seemingly joyous instrumentals of You Seemed So Happy and the anxiety concealed underneath; the disparity between appearances and reality is explored, and Amber mentions it’s “about seeming like I was very normal and fine but also that feeling that I genuinely believed I was going to die every single day.”

Somethingfartoogoodtofeel hides its melancholia in a moving instrumentation of driving drums and floating strings, but the depth of its lyricism brings Amber’s musical maturity to the forefront. Lead single Lilo induces a serenity by way of lush harmonies and sparkling electronics, whilst the piano-driven Everybody Hates Me transforms our irrational fears and paranoia into a swelling cut that almost seems too great to contain amidst the burgeoning chorus.

There’s something simply ethereal in the hymnal qualities of Marika Is Sleeping, whilst the euphoric chorus of f a r a w a y indulges in delectable harmonies and ‘70s inspired sonics. We come full circle with finishing track i saw you in a dream, one of Amber’s old songs reimagined as an acoustic close that brings home all of the nostalgia.

With her debut album, it seems that falling isn’t the only thing The Japanese House is good at; she certainly knows how to pull at your heartstrings and turn our most potent emotions into a source of inspiration and hope.