Album Review – The Japanese House – Good At Falling

British alternative indie pop band The Japanese House brilliantly string together synth charged energetic vibes with reflective indie oriented lyrics, creating record after record of sweet melodic music. Newest record, Good at Falling, springs to market 1 March. The album is filled with brilliant moments of sound and stillness, a cacophony of progressive sound that will no doubt delight fans. Here is what to expect when Good at Falling drops.

‘Went to Meet Her (intro)’ opens the record. It’s amalgamation of atmospheric instrumentals, distorted natural sonic elements and hauntingly peaceful vocals are a pure delight showing not only the evolution of sound for The Japanese House but also their brilliance in creating a transformative atmosphere through the intermixing of sound.  Familiar yet explorative the intro is a perfect blend of old and new, a brilliant way to start the record. 

‘Maybe You’re the Reason’ crashes through next. With a cascade of lightly touching instrumentals and airy vocals the song creates a sort of dreamscape, what can be seen as a sort of dive into memories. As the song moves the sound evolves with hints of psychedelic flow the vocals pick up, clashing with the electronic nuances as the lamentation of past relationships floods into the song. The pop undertone of the song makes me ask if the tune is supposed to be a lament for things lost or if it is rather an exciting perusal of a new journey punctuated by these absence of someone once dear. 

‘We Talk All the Time’ is perhaps the answer to that question. The track begins with a sombre vocal tone spliced by intermittent synths. As the drums kick in the hypnotic grounded vocals are juxtaposed by atmospheric breaks, a compilation of indie and rock and electronic that has come to typify The Japanese House’s sound. The song seems to hint at the progression of a romantic relationship, a move from intimacy of touch to intimacy of communication. As lyrics like ‘we don’t fuck anymore, but we talk all the time so its fine’ float in and out of the song it is clear that the record highlights an ending of a love affair, balanced in irony by the uptempo indie rock vibe. 

Continuing the demise of relationships and the reflections after the end ‘Wild’ is the real indie heartbeat of the album. Transformative, the simple backbone created by the drum swirls admits atmospheric elements. The vocals in ‘Wild’ are steady, a sort of calm presence that offers a great breadth and space. The mood of ‘Wild’ is altered as percussion heavy ‘You Seemed So Happy’ brings an almost cheery sound. With accelerating instrumentals and quick paced vocals the uptempo swing seems to mirror the reflection of a happy persona, the post relationship glow. ‘You Seemed So Happy’ will no doubt be a staple for any summer playlist its easy cheery vibe amplified by the instrumental layering, bringing a hint of sonic glory. 

Electronic heavy ‘Follow My Girl’ displays The Japanese House brilliant ability to layer sound upon sound, creating for this tune an intricately balanced masterpiece. With waves of sound the song morphs and undulates as tempo and instrumentals dance and change.  

The play of sounds continues with ‘Somethingfartoogoodtofeel.’ A real standout on the album the song is a hypnotically intoxicating amalgamation of resounding vocals, acoustic guitar, and electronic splendour. With depth and darkness the song is not only an evolution in The Japanese House talent but it is also a breathtakingly beautiful song, the sound sweeping across my mind filling my heart and brain with a flurry of emotions. A mastery of elegance and mystery, the shrouded beauty of ‘Somethingfartoogoodtofeel’ anchors the album in a new wave of explorative sonic depth. 

The downtrodden timbre of ‘Follow My Girl’ and ‘Somethingfartoogoodtofeel’ is quickly changed as midtempo ‘Lilo’ streams through. Like a budding spring bloom ‘Lilo’ seems to break free from the doom, thawing out in the light sonic warmth. With stripped instrumentals and a slight pick up in tempo around the chorus ‘Lilo’ has a sense of hope as the heroine singing realises her ability to shape her own future. 

The slow, melodic introduction of ‘Everybody Hates Me’ morphs into electronically deconstructed vocals and pure alternative indie pop excitement. As the chorus repeats, the reflection of “everybody hates me” a new realisation seems to come about for our heroine. Backed by a strong electronic core the song pulses with energy, the instrumental mayhem diminishing into stripped vocals and pianos giving the song a real organic fiery ethos.  

A dreamlike fantasia seems to spring forth from ‘Everybody Hates Me.’ With ‘Marika is Sleeping’ The Japanese House impose elongated instrumentals with blooming vocals taking wide sonic strokes to give the song an airy dreamscape feel. Adding in a solid little percussion and synth section the song is not a total departure of the usual The Japaense House sound, just a new discovery of the moods they can create within a song. 

The album continues with indie rock perfection as found in ‘Worms’ and ‘Far Away.’ A real futuristic undertone, ‘Worms’ holds that classic electronic rock indie sound that has come to typify The Japanese House sound. A sort of single girth anthem the lyrics are a real exploration of self. Rather than being bogged down by the societal need for romantic relationship the heroine breaks free, mirrored in the free floating sound. The sonic elements, bound by nothing, are individually dramatic and stunning, when tied together the song is both parts soothing and explorative perhaps like the journey of self discovery. 

‘Far Away’ with its futuristic electronically oriented intro and mild rock indie sound, has a sort of dystopian sadness mirrored by the resonating vocals. Both the instrumentals and the lyrics seem to hold to the importance of space, a breathy relaxed yet charged song. ‘I Saw You In a Dream’ rounds out the record. The self-realisation of “im not that kind of girl” is punctuated by a sweet yet sombre electronic indie sound. It seems our heroine has come to the end of her journey of separation, concluding that while life may have been permanently altered by the relationship that ultimately her time is better spent elsewhere.  

The Japanese House with Good at Falling have created an immersive album that is filled with sorrow and hope, a storyline created in a record that is often overlooked in modern music creation. As standalone songs each record is dripping with sonic brilliance, The Japanese House layering sound in breathtaking fashion. These individual moments collide, creating an album that is progressive and reflective, introspective yet accessible. The evolution of talent is obvious. Good at Falling a sonic exploration of reality, The Japanese House creating a masterpiece that will be a staple in your line-up for a very long time. 

Good at Falling is released on 1st March, 2019 on Dirty Hit Records.


Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

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