Redbrick’s Nina Avitabile discusses The Japanese House’s subtle evolution showcased on her recent single

Written by Nina Avitabile
Last updated
Images by Justin Higuchi

Ever since emerging with her debut EP, 2015’s Pools to Bath In, songwriter Amber Bain (a.k.a The Japanese House) has maintained an interesting presence in what would most likely be labelled, indie pop- lying a little below surface of the big names of the genre. She maintains a reasonably consistent sound throughout a series of EPs that followed Pools, and whilst label mates The 1975 and Wolf Alice have been propelled to new levels of popularity through more stylistically diverse and explorative LPs, Bain has been gently perfecting her own brand of ethereal, chorus-laden synth-pop. 

Bain has been gently perfecting her own brand of ethereal, chorus-laden synth-pop

The most recent single, ‘Follow My Girl’, is an example of this style. It houses vocals that stand out more than previous releases, with a touch less reverb and subtle vocoding. Twisting and turning through the instrumental, the lyrical content of the single hints at concealed meaning.

It is hard to deny the appeal of ‘Follow My Girl’

For the more attentive listener a sense of unease permeates through parts of the processed vocals; a pitched and altered refrain presents, ‘I can’t fix it, it’s not right,’ in an intentionally disguised and distorted manner. This emotional honesty is something that is not new to Bain’s music, however here the juxtaposition of upbeat instrumental and brooding lyrics, remains particularly arresting.

It is undeniable that for the majority – especially fans of the aforementioned label-mates – The Japanese House succeeds in creating an enjoyable atmosphere with her music, one that references prominent alternative 80s acts like early Talk Talk and The Blue Nile. With an instrumental peppered with saxophone hits and bit-crushed melodies, drenched in luscious reverb,  it is hard to deny the appeal of ‘Follow My Girl.’ The Japanese House released their debut album, Good At Falling, in March 2019.

‘Follow My Girl’ is available now via Dirty Hit