The Japanese House
Good At Falling


2.9
good

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
March 2nd, 2019 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Won't you give yourself a try? Perhaps next time?

The Japanese House, consisting of solo artist Amber Bain, is an electronic/indie-pop act that maintains a very close relationship with The 1975. Bain’s first tour was as the band’s opening act, and since then George Daniel (drums) has produced many of her tracks, while Matt Healy (vocals) appears on Good at Falling, her full-length debut. Any time two artists share a stage or a studio, there is bound to be creative overlap. Good at Falling dabbles liberally in that commonality, creating something that the casual listener might coin as female-fronted 1975 – and as much as I despise umbrella generalizations, they wouldn’t be wrong.

Good at Falling wastes no time in allowing such accusations to be levied: the supremely electronic and vocoder-ized intro, ‘went to meet her’, shares just about everything in common with The 1975’s recurring eponymous introduction. From there, it treads into all-too predictable territory; from the autotuned pop melody of ‘We Talk all the Time’ to the obligatory acoustic guitar interruption that comes by way of ‘You Seemed so Happy.’ There’s very little individuality injected into the album’s lifeblood, a facet of the music that breeds comfort over curiosity, offering listeners a second helping rather than a brand new dish. All of this is disappointing considering the immense potential of Bain as a vocalist and keyboardist.

With those criticisms carefully laid out, it would of course be foolish not to recognize the album’s obvious charisma. Good at Falling brilliantly toes the line between the mainstream and niche, offering all-out pop anthems such as ‘Maybe You’re the Reason’ alongside sleepy electronic meanderings that feel more retracted from the limelight – thus allowing listeners to bask in the euphoria of accessible pop while still benefitting from gorgeous bedroom numbers like ‘somethingfartoogoodtofeel.’ More often than not, the true gems lie in Bain’s more subdued efforts, where the electronic effects are more deliberately defined and her voice is given ample opportunity to shine.

This is an album that will undoubtedly do quite well in electronic/indie-pop circles. The Japanese House’s close proximity to The 1975 makes it feel like a necessary counterpart; a sister project. Although Good at Falling makes little headway into its own unique musical space, that’s something fans can hopefully expect in the future as Bain continues to distance herself from this vigilantly-traced launching pad. For now, here’s to another round of synth-laden pop balladry.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
March 2nd 2019


30223 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

I didn't see the appeal in this. I'm that person screaming, "umm this sounds exactly like The 1975." I enjoy them, but it admittedly made it difficult to even focus on anything else. 'You Seemed so Happy' and 'somethingfartoogood' are both excellent songs, though.

Digging: Glen Hansard - This Wild Willing

Point1
March 2nd 2019


469 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Totally agree with you here Sowing. Only thing I've ever enjoyed from this artist is "Clean," thought that song did a good job infusing the more 1975-style pop with vaporwave type aesthetics.



As far as I can tell though, this album is just a mediocre pop album. No real personality or aesthetic uniqueness here.

Nomos2
March 3rd 2019


261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Maybe its impact on me is slightly different because I've been listening to the singles as they were released for the past...4?...years, and I also have heard of "The 1975" on the internet in the past, but the name annoyed me so much that I felt zero drive to listen to a single song, so I still have no idea what that band is or what their influence on this album is.





That being said, this didn't do much for me. I loved her older singles...those "not really EPs" Clean and Pools to Bathe In were excellent. "Saw You in a Dream" was...OK. And while some of her newer ones appear on this album, the whole thing just flies by without much happening to hook me or grab my attention. It's fine easy-listening background music, but that's all. "We Talk All the Time" is the only real standout here for me. Production is nice for the most part. But oh boy is this thing homogeneous. Reasonably disappointed.



SowingSeason
Moderator
March 3rd 2019


30223 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

I felt bad chalking this up to a 1975 tracing in my review, but it's the first thing that came to my mind and that opinion was never once swayed in listening to the album several times. It definitely has some great standout tracks, but it's not as consistent or fun as The 1975 (or most other electronic indie-pop of its kind).

TatremyMusic
March 3rd 2019


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I heavily disagree with a lot of this. I can hear traces of George Daniel's production here and there, but I don't think it comes close to The 1975 enough to merit a comparison at all. IMO the autotune/vocoder comparison is poor because the effects used in this project are quite tonally different (and to be fair, The Japanese House has been employing this style long before The 1975 started using it).

But I won't deny that this was a well written review, so to each their own and pos.

GhandhiLion
March 3rd 2019


4196 Comments


House is a good Japanese film.

Digging: Kapil Seshasayee - A Sacred Bore

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2019


8940 Comments


Nice little piece here. If this is akin to 1975 I'll probably stay away

ProjectFreak
March 4th 2019


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oof. I've studiously avoided The 1975 so this comparison is lost on me, but I fell in love with her sound the first time I heard Lilo.

Dylan620
March 4th 2019


4751 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Feels strange to enjoy a pop album more than you do Sowing, though my case may be helped by the fact that I've only heard... probably two 1975 songs in my life. I dig how well this album flows as a cohesive unit, and the best individual tracks are pop gold ("somethingfartoogoodtofeel," "Worms")

Digging: The Wrens - The Meadowlands

ProjectFreak
March 4th 2019


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lilo is breathtakingly good, it'd be a SOTY candidate if it didn't drop last year

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 4th 2019


30223 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

I could certainly understand liking this if no 1975 context exists

But as someone who heard three 1975 records before ever approaching Amber Bain, it just feels nauseatingly familiar and lackluster

ProjectFreak
March 6th 2019


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can't help but feel guilty since I rec'd this for Sowing on the new releases list and he comes out swinging against it



But I still dig this ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Dylan620
March 7th 2019


4751 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Does any 1975 album flow as well as this? Because that's this album's ace in the hole imo

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 7th 2019


30223 Comments

Album Rating: 2.9

The 1975 are maybe less consistent but are far less sleepy. When The 1975 get it right, it's always a jam.

zaruyache
March 20th 2019


20653 Comments


This bangs so far so uhhh

Lucman
April 9th 2019


2319 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm digging this quite a bit. Has a nice chill, house by the beach vibe going on.

Digging: Glen Hansard - This Wild Willing



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