Following multiple EPs, solo artist Amber Bain has released her debut album.
English indie pop artist Amber Bain, otherwise known as The Japanese House, recently released her debut album, “Good at Falling.” Bain has released multiple EPs, but this is her first full-length album. “Good at Falling” is home to thirteen raw, emotional and hypnotic tracks that take a look into Bain’s experiences and heartbreak.
Bain’s solo act name was inspired by a property in Cornwall, England, which has rooms and furnishings similar to those in Japanese tea houses, which Bain’s parents used to take her to when she was a child.
Track one, titled “went to meet her (intro),” reminds me of something you would listen to if you’re laying on the floor of your bedroom because you’re sad. As far as sound is concerned, it does a great job at blending mainstream pop with indie and non-traditional instrumentals.
“You Seemed so Happy,” track five on the album, is a little more upbeat and bouncy. It made me feel like I was in a small bar or intimate show venue. Toward the end of the song, the music takes a break from being upbeat, and the guitar goes acoustic for a bit. This is a refreshing break from the rest of the song and makes for an exciting surprise when the beat returns.
Track six, “Follow My Girl,” starts with the lyrics: ‘Different people have their different ways of living/I chose mine and it was unforgiving.’ Then, the drums kick in. The vocals in this song differ from the rest of the album, but it’s a nice differentiation from Bain’s traditional sound. Preceding this song, the vocals are deeper and softer; this song brings a different side of Bain’s sound with a wider range of notes. The main part of the chorus says: ‘I’ll follow my girl till I find myself a sense of direction.’ This song, and much of the rest of the album, alludes to the idea of depending on other people and needing those around you to fully be who you are.
The only criticism I have for “Follow My Girl” is when there’s about a minute left, continuing the song seems unnecessary; it would have been better if the song would have just faded. In the final minute, the music slows and softens for about 20 seconds then kicks up again out of nowhere. It made me feel as though the song was dragging on and turned me off from wanting to finish it.
Track seven on the album is titled “somethingtoogoodtofeel.” This song is definitely a bop. I couldn’t help but nod my head while I was listening to it. The song uses a variety of string instruments, including a violin and a cello, and it blends so nicely with the guitar and drums. There are times throughout the track when the drums quiet or slow down, and it works extremely well because it leaves the listener waiting in anticipation for the beat to drop again, which it does in the last minute of the song.
“Lilo” is track eight on the album. This one is about Bain’s ex-girlfriend, Marika Hackman. The video for “Lilo” also features Hackman alongside Bain. Throughout this video, both girls are featured together going through the emotional ups and downs of being in a relationship then falling out of love, and the final section of the video shows Bain in every setting by herself. The song itself starts off with deep synth and is accompanied by what sounds like lightning. While the message behind it is rather sad, the song and melody are incredibly soothing and calming.
Tracks 12 and 13 differ a bit from the rest of the album in that the lyrics start immediately; on the rest of the album there is some type of intro before the lyrics begin. Track 12, “f a r a w a y,” is very cute. It’s lovey-dovey and is about missing someone you love, most likely a significant other, which is a feeling many of us can relate to.
Track 13 is titled “i saw you in a dream.” This track is also about missing someone but in a different capacity. Track 12 was about missing someone you’re currently with, while this one seems to be about an ex or someone you no longer speak to or see often. Again, a feeling many of us can, unfortunately, relate to.
Overall, I thought the album was good. I give it a nine out of 10, which is saying something because this is absolutely not the genre of music I would otherwise listen to. The songs on this album were raw and real making each song relatable in some way.
I appreciate the vulnerability that Bain puts forth with this album, letting her listeners into her head and heart. While the general idea of needing other people is good, there are some points when it can come across as an unhealthy dependency, which can be dangerous in any relationship. However, I really enjoyed this album and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for future music by The Japanese House.