When a friend of mine brought up in conversation The Japanese House I genuinely thought he was talking about a new genre of music not an actual artist?! I like to think I’m aware of new music but clearly I have pigeon holed myself somewhere! Having sat down and listened I was really impressed by what I heard and had an inkling that it would be better heard in a live environment and what better venue to visit then the Concorde 2 in Brighton.
The Japanese House AKA Amber Bain has this month released her debut album ‘Good at Falling’ which sees her laying down her personal life coupled with relationship heartbreak. Amber was dating Marika Hackman during the course of writing the album and you can hear throughout the relationship playing out. Amber is also good friends with the boys from The 1975, George Daniel from the band has helped produced a number of the early EPs.
‘Good at Falling’ has received some glowing reviews since it was released around 3 weeks ago and was part recorded at Bon Iver’s Fall Creek Studio. It also guests Matt Healy (The 1975) on vocals for the track ‘f a r a w a y’. The album features a great mixture of synths and pulsating drum beats whilst throwing in some atmospheric vocals which are distorted in the right places and then return to speak softly in your ear. There is a real sense of being on a journey with Amber across the course of the record.
Taking to the stage, Amber evoked a delicate demeanour and visually reminded me of Kurt Cobain with her look. The album intro ‘went to meet her’ opened with this moving straight into ‘Maybe You’re the Reason’ with its 80’s-esqe synths. This set the tone for the evening with very little breaks in between songs and minimal crowd interaction with a simple ‘thanks’ given every now and then. From reading about Amber and the beginning of her career it appears a low-profile approach is preferred with the music doing the talking. Withholding her identity became the only thing people wanted to talk about resulting in her having to drop the curtain and reveal who she was.
The beginning of ‘Follow My Girl’ ever so slightly reminds me of the experimental nature of the later Bon Iver record which is a clear influence for me on the sound. The expressive ‘Lilo’ provided the catalyst for the crowd to sing along and before this, my pick from the album ‘You Seemed So Happy’.
As suspected, the sound of The Japanese House was really brought to life in the live environment, there was definitely a degree of vulnerability on show and this for me provided a real personal experience.