Amber Bain, the musical genius behind The Japanese House, creates music filled with synth, vocal layering, and salient lyrics. There isn’t much information out there on The Japanese house, except a few interviews and articles. But this only seems to add to the appeal of London based artist. So far she has released two EPs, supported The 1975 on their recent tour, and is even with the same record label as them.
Pools To Bathe In
The first EP released, Pools To Bathe In, begins with a track with the same title. Background sound effects and then a catchy riff bring in the song, showing us a signature of Amber’s music. The use of multiple layers creates an auto-tuned or electronic effect on her voice that somehow still feels raw and real. Probably because it is simply layers upon layers and not vocal correction. The song takes the listener through what may at first seem to be an unstructured path of lyrics and sounds but as you let the song sink in, it forms a smooth but interesting route built straight from the mind of the artist. Each song holds poetic writing and excellent use of sound but my favourite track on this EP, and maybe even in the whole of The Japanese House’s current collection, is the 3rd track named Still. From the slow rhythm of the verse to the expressive words that open up Amber’s head to the audience, this track allows anyone hearing it to be taken somewhere other than where they are.
As you listen to each song in this EP, there is somehow a unified sound yet every song has its own impact and signature. It is rare to find an artist who can deliver music that can hold broad appeal yet stays true and doesn’t feel manufactured.
The same could be said for the latest EP release, Clean. Holding firm to her unique style, but with a less intense electronic feel and more conventional instruments, Amber treats us to another slice of her talent. And what a slice it is. The first track somehow manages to take the listener to that same ethereal place in our mind despite the more upbeat feeling to the track. But I think that is something everyone who listens will grow to recognise as The Japanese House’s defining ability. To harmoniously bring together the pleasant and bright mood of the music with the melancholy of the lyrics.
Cool Blue is undoubtedly the catchiest track on Clean and somehow fills me with nostalgia despite not sounding like anything I listened to when I was young. The tone changes for the last two tracks, the light mood of the music replaced by a sound that seems more appropriately matched with the lyrics.
The way the EP is balanced shows to me the immense talent held by Amber Bain. The music made by The Japanese House manages to fit multiple moods and occasions. I look forward to a full album from a mind that has already provided such great music.