ALBUM REVIEW: The Japanese House Emerges Fully Built on ‘Good At Falling’

Amber Bain enters the indie pop elite with long-awaited debut.

Good At Falling is a personal, hypnotic statement by British electronic artist Amber Bain, the singer-songwriter behind The Japanese House. Her full-length debut comes after years of EP releases, hype and a musical evolution toward synth-pop. Longtime fans won’t be disappointed, and new fans will flock to her intimate brand of vulnerability.⠀

Framed over the course of a relationship, Good At Falling explores the joy, tediousness and pain that comes with love. We feel infatuation on album highlight “Maybe You’re The Reason.” We feel jaded exhausted on “We Talk all the Time,” where she sings “We don’t fuck anymore / But we talk all the time so it’s fine.” The relationship is on the brink by the time we reach “Everybody Hates Me,” where her lover is literally sleeping on the sofa. Anyone who’s been in a relationship gone bad can recall these details all too well.⠀

Yet, these feelings are balanced by the music itself. Produced by The 1975’s George Daniel and Matt Healy, the album is full of catchy synth hooks, bass lines and pop sensibilities. We hear this in the synth line that pulses midway through “Everybody Hates Me” and the hook that runs through “Marika I Sleeping.” The dreamlike “f a r a w a y” evokes the nostalgia that comes with only remembering the good times, and the late night temptation to text them back and give it another try.⠀

Bain’s early days on stage found her hiding behind the mystery of The Japanese House. With its twangy beginning, “You Seemed So Happy” is Bain’s reflection on her beginnings, and her reticence toward accepting the early attention she received. When the song explodes halfway though, you feel the acceptance, confidence and vulnerability she’s opened herself up to. Good At Falling will propel Amber Bain into the elite of indie pop.⠀

Score: 🏠🏠🏠🏠/5⠀

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