The Japanese House
The Japanese House
« Inclassable : c’est le premier mot qui vient à l’esprit lorsque l’on découvre le nouvel EP d’Amber Bain, alias The Japanese House. Une jeune artiste de 20 ans mais qui, au travers des chansons de « Clean EP », fait preuve d’une maturité déjà immense en termes de composition et de création.
Over the past few years, the mystery that once surrounded The Japanese House has dissolved into a clear artistic vision. With four EPs, put out between 2015 and 2017, Bain had already released an album’s worth of material, honing the sound and feel of her intricate indie pop dreamscapes, but it has taken her until now to make her debut album. Partly, that’s because she has spent much of the last three years on the road, touring with Dirty Hit labelmates The 1975 and Wolf Alice, among others. Partly, it’s because she wanted to start with a clean slate. “Also, I’m really bad at finishing things, because my attention span is so bad. It takes me ages to commit to something.”
The album is made up of new tracks, drawn from a particularly tumultuous and transformative period in Bain’s life, recounted with admirable honesty and candour. “The songs are all about different things, but they tie together, because they are influenced by, and part of, a specific time in my life.”
The album may be filled with the anxiety of uncertainty, at least in terms of its lyrics, but that’s in stark contrast to the sheer size and confidence of its sound, which builds on the foundations of the EPs with added vigour and a sharp sense of focus. Most of the songs began as demos recorded by Bain on her laptop in her room in London. They were fleshed out and finished in studios in Wisconsin, Brussels and Oxford, by Bain and her collaborators BJ Burton (who has worked with Low, Bon Iver and Francis and the Lights), and with George Daniel from The 1975. While the sound is still recognisably The Japanese House, its pop structures bending slightly, thrillingly out of shape, there is the clear surfacing of a concise pop sensibility, too.