Single Review: The Japanese House - Lilo | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Single Review: The Japanese House – Lilo

The Japanese House's latest single is as beautifully ethereal as we've come to expect from Amber Bain's synth-pop project, Naomi Bruneel reviews

After the much-anticipated wait, The Japanese House has finally released new single ‘Lilo’. Amber Bain, the musician at the heart of the synth-pop act, released the EP, Saw You In a Dream, last June, leaving fans yearning for over a year. Yet, the buzzing excitement became more gripping once Bain began to countdown on social media, feeding her Twitter fans with hazy, deadpan images up until the release.

The peaceful serenity of Bain’s synthesised magic physicalises the nebulous subject of drifting in and out of love
The echoing vocals stick with the dreamy bliss epitomised by The Japanese House. The overall song is less acoustic in comparison to ‘Cool Blue’ - instead gravitating towards an artificial sound, as in the likes of ‘Count to Nine’. Whether ‘Lilo’ is a progression or a declination, and despite the long wait, listeners aren’t overwhelmed by a drastic change: an opiate lullaby element remains. Fragments of the song are vaguely reminiscent of the 1975’s ‘Somebody Else’, which is no shock considering that ‘Lilo’ was co-produced by the band’s George David. Not only do the two interact on a musical level, but they also share a friendship outside the studio – a relationship that Bain seems to suggest as ‘rare’ to find.

Bain gave a personal insight into the depths of ‘Lilo’ by stating that ‘It is a reminder to me that I am good at falling in love and I can survive falling out of it’, hinting towards her relationship with Marika Hackman. There is underlining ambiguity as to whether Bain is seeking refuge in another person (perhaps after breaking away from Hackman) or whether the single is a touching tribute to their time spent together. The single’s central theme of love extends to the warmth of friendship, for Bain states that the lyrics for ‘Lilo’ were inspired by her best friend encouraging her into a new relationship: ‘Gemma told me that she met someone / It was the person I’d been counting on’. The peaceful serenity of Bain’s synthesised magic physicalises the nebulous subject of drifting in and out of love. With eyes closed and earphones in, The Japanese House truly has us ‘floating like a lilo’.

'Lilo' is available now via Dirty Hit. The Japanese House tours in November. Tickets are available here.

A second year History of Art girl, with an addiction to peanut butter.


13th October 2018 at 7:00 am

Last Updated

12th October 2018 at 3:22 pm

Images from

The Japanese House