English indie-pop artist Amber Bain, better known to the world as The Japanese House, has taken her time to get to this point in her career. Getting her career under way in earnest in 2015, she released her first EP Pools To Bathe In. She followed that up with three more and plaudits from critics and fans alike, creating an excitement for her debut album that arrived today. Good At Falling builds on her past work and synthesizes it into a more complete thought, delivering a poignant telling of a heartbreak.
Good At Falling kicks off with something quite different, entering the autotuned, robotic territories of alt-dance pop that one might find with P.C. Music. It accentuates the pain of lines like “I suffer when she suffers,” showing that this pain is mutual, something that we all can relate to.
It then picks up with two of the album singles “Maybe You’re The Reason” and “We Talk All The Time” to pick up the energy, but still remain grounded in the overall sadness of the album “every time I try to figure it out, you’re the only one I can think about,” she sings on "Maybe You're The Reason." This is the most obviously felt on “We Talk All The Time” with the line “We don’t fuck any more, but we talk all the time, so it’s fine” that hits like a ton of bricks or that first time you hear your significant other say, “I don’t think it's going to work.”
Just as many breakup albums serve as honest and cathartic writing outlet for the artist, Bain eventually finds herself reaching her way out of this abyss. She comes to terms with how this relationship ended and what was to come on the other side. there is growth towards happiness with the pre-chorus she sings on "Lilo," “and Gemma told me that she met someone / It was the person I'd been counting on / It felt good, it felt transitional / A feeling I'd been waiting on."
She addresses other parts of her life as well, like a friend who died on "You Seemed So Happy." The song is meant to sound happy, but it reflects the darkness that actually lies within many of us.
Her forlorn vocals at times can serve to counterbalance the instrumentals, like on “somethingfartoogoodtofeel,” with its galloping drums and chugging guitar. Even in these sad moments, there always feels like there is a spark of joy, even if it isn’t in her voice. It could be the twang of an electric guitar or a pop hook that brings her songs different life than a lot of other songwriters for more of an indie-pop feel. These are well-written, well produced and well-performed from front to back. Don’t be shocked to see Good At Falling hold up at the end of the year with the best of the best. For a debut, you can't ask for much more.
Get your copy here.