The Japanese House, Swim Against The Tide

The Japanese House, AKA  20 year old Amber Bain has released her third E.P. Swim Against the Tide. 

By Jane Howkins.

The Japanese House is the main musical project of Amber Bain, a young Buckinghamshire lass in her early twenties. Swim Against The Tide is her third E.P. to be released which is very impressive for someone of her age, and it’s a bit more of a grandiose affair than her last two efforts – hinting at a bright future.

There are four songs on the E.P., with the respective titles of Swim Against The Tide, Face Like Thunder, Good Side In, and Leon. Whilst sharing Bain’s vocals and a similar musical DNA, each track has a different feel and sound to it, showing a vast range of influences at play. There’s an experimentation that seems relatively new for The Japanese House, showing an artist less afraid to let loose, and more eager to mess around with a different set of sounds.

The title track starts off with a very 80s’ synthesiser intro, sounding like something from a cheesy television soap from the era, not dissimilar to the Twin Peaks theme tune. It’s a little jarring at first and could put people off, but it’s only a small part of one song, and the rest of the songs are great. Face Like Thunder is the poppiest track here, and is very catchy. It’s hard to listen to it a few times and not get it stuck in your head, but it’s not too sugary as to sound cheap.

Our favourite track is third song, Good Side In. There’s a darkness to it that isn’t really present on the rest of the E.P., and it shows Bain hinting at a folkier direction for the future, with the chord changes sounding like something Laura Marling would put into one of her songs. Bain’s vocals are also a point of interest. There’s a lot of layering going on, and the immediate thought that came to our minds was that it makes Bain’s voice sound similar to Imogen Heap’s. It makes for an interesting sound and one we would like to hear more of, but there is a slight worry that The Japanese House may rely too much on sounding like other people. However, considering that the four songs on this E.P. are so varied, it hopefully won’t come to that!