Album Review: The Japanese House's "Good at Falling"

The Japanese House is an indie pop band created by solo artist Amber Bain, 23, from Buckinghamshire, UK. She began releasing music in 2015 with her first EP titled, “Pools to Bathe In.” Followed by three EP’s titled, “Clean,” “Swim Against the Tide,” and “Saw You in a Dream,” all released between 2015-2017 under Dirty Hit. Good at Falling is The Japanese House’ LP debut, released on March 1, 2019.

Good at Falling is a deeply emotional, personal, and vulnerable album, chronicling the beginning of Bains relationship with fellow musician, Marika Hackman, and the eventual end of it. In the course of 13 songs, Bain takes us on a journey of love, loss, feeling lost, and finding yourself through it all.

The album opens with “went to meet her (intro),” a heavily auto-tuned track that has Bain feeling insecure and uncertain about herself and relationships. While it’s a short track, she is giving us some insight into what is going through her mind at the time.  

Good at Falling gets straight to the point about Bains former feelings for Hackman with the dreamy-pop sounds of “Maybe You’re the Reason.” She starts off by asking herself what the point to life is, singing, “are we living for the feeling / when we look back / on what we did and reminisce?” Her relationship is over, and she doesn’t recognize the person staring back at her in the mirror. Bain breaks through her sadness and gives us the chorus filled with the love she once had for Hackman, “You’re the only thing I can think about (Maybe you’re the reason).” She wrestles with the thought that loving someone is the reason you live.

Next on Bains list of heartbreaking songs is, “We Talk All the Time.” This song features playful synths and an awesome guitar piece that almost mask the somber meaning of the song. When I first saw the track list, I was skeptical about the title of this, it seemed too good to be true…. Well, it totally was/is. This song details the dissolution of her relationship. It goes through the progression of less intimacy in the relationship that gets rationalized as totally fine because, “we talk all the time.” She literally sings, “we don’t touch anymore / but we talk all the time so it’s fine.”

The album ends with “i saw you in a dream,” a stripped-down version from the one released on her “Saw You in a Dream” EP. This version has Bain singing without any autotune or synthesizing of her voice. She plays an acoustic guitar with a beautiful melody echoing in the background. “i saw you in a dream” blurs the line between reality and a dream with, “When I’m awake I can’t switch off / It isn’t the same but it is enough.”

I fell in love with this album, for the electropop beats, the syntesized sounds, and heartbreakingly beautiful lyrics. Bain describes how in love we all may feel throughout a relationship when it’s good and the feeling that we’ve lost ourselves when it’s over. I applaud Bain for being vulnerable and sharing her thoughts and feelings with the world.

Here are my 5 favorite songs from Good at Falling

  • “Lilo”
  • “f a r a w a y”
  • “Follow My Girl”
  • “i saw you in a dream”
  • “Maybe You’re the Reason”

“It’s a reminder to me that I’m good at falling in love, and I can survive falling out of it.”

-Amber Bain on Good at Falling

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