By Kayla Chanthavong, Contributor
[Dirty Hit; 2019]
Key tracks: “Maybe You’re the Reason”, “Follow My Girl”, “Worms”
British solo artist and indie pop icon Amber Bain, also known as The Japanese House, follows her experience with life-changing events by releasing Good At Falling, her first full-length album. This time around, Bain gives us more insight into her life, which she was hesitant to share before she bloomed with striking confidence.
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The personal story told through Good At Falling makes it incredibly emotional. Messages from songs like “We Talk all the Time” and “Maybe You’re the Reason” resonate with many listeners, but the rest of the songs are representative of times unique to Bain, like her first love passing away as well as precarious relationships that still deeply affect her. Also, with help from The 1975’s Matty Healy, Bain creates a complex sound that’s difficult to break down that also reaches a depth of creativity and honesty that isn’t often heard.
Her style of music is soft-spoken, mellow and harmonious and this album brings out those qualities that she expresses in her previous EPs. Rather than telling a story that flows, each song has its own air of individuality. There’s a dozy feel to the album but there’s also a spontaneity in the rhythms. For example, “You Seemed so Happy” undoubtedly channels some Fleetwood Mac. It’s sunny and happy, and it tones down the melodramatic ambiance of the rest of the album.
“Marika Is Sleeping” is a song that functions as an outlet for creative experimentation as well as a tribute to her former lover, Marika Hackman. Bain reveals that this song is the track most related to her album title in the sense that some people are “good at falling” in and out of love, including herself.
“Worms” completely surrounds and fills every potential space of sound. That being said, this album is best heard with quality headphones or in a car to get the full sound effect. The sensationally smooth electronic-synth vibes, simple piano tune and lazy vocal transitions on tracks like “Everybody Hates Me” make this album a full sonic experience.
Good At Falling is a therapeutically cathartic album that inadvertently exposes Bain’s solace with growth. This album is not for our entertainment; it is about Bain’s emotional development. With this being her first full album, The Japanese House has a sky-high potential for even better music to come.