The Japanese House – Good at Falling

Good at Falling, the debut album from The Japanese House is a lucid dream, tumultuous and tender, steeped in self-reflection, self-appreciation, and self-growth

Album Review by Katie Cutforth | 28 Feb 2019
  • The Japanese House – Good at Falling
Album title: Good at Falling
Artist: The Japanese House
Label: Dirty Hit
Release date: 1 Mar

Good at Falling is the long-awaited debut LP from The Japanese House, a deeply personal account of love and loss set against a soothing electronic soundscape; a lucid dream, it's tumultuous and tender, steeped in self-reflection, self-appreciation, and self-growth. Following four exquisite EPs, singer-songwriter and producer Amber Bain seems to have found her style as The Japanese House without becoming predictable. She tends to conjure subliminal images of vast landscapes, through the combination of her almost androgynous vocal range with experimental sound effects and graceful, robust harmonies.

Opening with the contrastive Went to Meet Her, intensely auto-tuned vocals and jungle noise make the first half difficult to navigate, until sudden serenity sets in as Bain’s moody vocals bleed onto the track: 'I suffer when she suffers / Her love is like no other’s'. Navigating modern relationships with wisdom well beyond her 23 years, Bain's own recent heartbreak is a central theme, but the result is more reflective than it is reactive. "I am good at falling in love and I can survive falling out of it", she explained in a recent interview with i-D of the record’s title as a moment of optimistic self-understanding.

At the record’s core is Lilo, a candid portrait of a precious relationship. It stares love in the face, written half in the relationship, half after its end, with uncharacteristically soft instrumentals giving space for Bain’s monologue. Lyrically, the track moves between description ('Gemma told me that she met someone / It was the person I’d been counting on') and deep symbolism ('Caught in flux, you drifted till you hit the sides').

Good at Falling has a feeling of the relief that comes after crying. It takes a moment to sit in sorrow, to feel every inch of it, only to find it washed away by hope and gratitude.

Listen to: Lilo, Wild, Everybody Hates Me