Glistening above the array of rather mundane yet bright guitars and soothing vocal harmonies from opening acts Colouring and Fake Laugh, The Japanese House reworks traditional elements of electronic pop and dream pop into a melancholic blur.

Secrecy and elegance trickle and surge throughout the band’s work, weaving together low and high vocal ranges to craft an ambiguous effect. With little information to be found regarding the artist, the music emulates the same elusive qualities as its architect.

Sculpting subtly eerie experimental pop drenched in serene synthesisers and vocoders, 21 year old Amber Bain provides tracks which are inundated with fragility and a sophistication beyond her years. Accompanied by only two touring musicians, simplicity is a fundamental aspect that is regularly interspersed both lyrically, and throughout the composition of each track.

‘Stilland ‘Sister’ cast a somewhat forlorn shadow over the performance, with each track possessing sedate synths and layered harmonies that intertwine to form wistful tones. As a consequence of this, a sense of optimism blossoms before adopting a more solemn flavour. ‘Face Like Thunder’ delivers a delicate blend of writhing guitar melodies, and hauntingly beautiful harmonies, which intertwine and bind to create a mist of tranquillity.

While live venues may be thought to threaten the music’s intricacy and depth, with the potential to be lost in the surroundings, it appears to play largely to its strengths. Between minimalistic segments of electronic bliss, lie vocals dusted with a harsh mechanical frosting. The sombre and reflective nature of the lyrics provide direction, teasing the performance onwards.

Indulgent and serene, The Japanese House manages to alternate between troughs and peaks of despondency and hope. While at times the focus does drift, and on occasion seems slightly too reflective, it soon snaps back into an engaging and intricate performance. A sanctuary of hypnotic synths and brooding vocals, The Japanese House ooze modesty and innovation.

7/10
Words by Madeline Smith

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