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The Japanese House: Good at Falling

"Good at Falling" by The Japanese House

Good at Falling is the debut album from British electro-pop artist Amber Bain under the name The Japanese House. With it, Bain exhibits a clear sense of direction, as she delivers punchy, yet candid pop music.

Amber Bain has been releasing music since 2012, with a handful of well-received EPs in the indie-pop circle. On her debut, Bain worked closely with The 1975, with vocal contributions from frontman Matty Healy and production credit by the band’s drummer, George Daniel.

Good at Falling is essentially a journey through Bain’s own relationship, from its euphoric highs to its crushing, heart-breaking, lows. Bain gives us an honest look at her romantic ventures, in all of her vulnerability.

Lead single “Maybe You’re the Reason” is a pretty brilliant electro-pop love song with a dazzling chorus that is instantly sticky. “I keep looking for something / Even though I know that it’s not there / Every time I try to figure it out / You’re the only thing I can think about,” Bain sings. A fitting anthem for hopeless romantics everywhere.

With “We Talk all the Time” Bain admits to her indecisiveness about her current relationship, as it unravels at the seams. “We don’t fuck anymore / But we talk all the time so it’s fine / Can somebody tell me what I want? / ‘Cause I keep changing my mind.” Over glitchy electronic beats, Bain sings about being stuck in the in-between phase of a failing romance.

To no surprise, The Japanese House shares obvious similarities with The 1975 that make it easy to overlook the album as a mere side project of the band. From the signature electronically-enhanced vocals on the intro track “want to meet her” to some predictable auto-tuned melodies, Bain struggles a bit to secure an identity separate from her label-mates.

Despite the obvious pitfalls, what Bain does well on Good at Falling is tread the line between the mainstream and the more niche side of pop music. There is a well-developed balance that she maintains between the radio-friendly hooks of “You Seemed so Happy” and the more dimensional, “Lilo“.

Good at Falling is ultimately a solid debut. It’s catchy and heartfelt, embracing the commercial appeal of pop music while still being interesting enough to keep its indie credibility.

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