Review: An Intimate Evening at Metro with The Japanese House
It has been an excruciating amount of time since the world last experienced a tour from Amber Bain; better known by her stage moniker The Japanese House. After a three year hiatus, her highly anticipated record In The End It Always Does came out earlier this year and it is jam packed with some great new tunes that still contain that charming Amber touch that makes her music so fresh and unique. Amber and her band came through Metro last Sunday with a perfect sold out set to cap off the weekend.
Considering that long wait since The Japanese House last went on tour; I had no idea what to anticipate from the setlist but of course they did not disappoint with their selections. The band is notorious for creating ambient soundscapes with Amber’s dreamy layered vocals to create an ambiance that at this point is so recognizable and familiar among The Japanese House fans. Amber walked on stage with a big smile on her face and opened the evening up with “Sad to Breathe'' and followed by “Touching Yourself” both of which have a more refined indie-pop sound to them. Although the setlist mainly focused on the new album, of course Bain had to pay homage to her last EP Chewing Cotton Wool and debut album Good At Falling.
Performing 3/4 songs from Chewing Cotton Wool, it was quite satisfying for myself and fans to have been able to hear most of the EP live. One of Amber’s greater earlier successes resides in her song “Saw You in a Dream” which thankfully made it onto this tour’s setlist (and was the only song performed from her earlier EPs). With another album out I’m sure it gets harder and harder for artists to curate setlists without cutting out old favorites. I have been lucky enough to catch The Japanese House several times over the years at both her own shows and as the opening act for close acquaintances The 1975. Getting to see her early days performing the EPs to her first album and now second album has been quite the treat to see her grow and blossom into the artist she is today. That being said, it was bittersweet to see Amber depart from her old songs and sounds to embrace a newer and more refined sound that is just as good as her older works that hopefully receive the limelight again one day.
“Boyhood” was the first single released for the new album and upon my first listen I fell in love. I knew that even after a long three year wait for new music it was worth the anticipated wait. I always prefer quality over quantity; especially in the music industry. Amber dedicated the song to all of the gays in the room; as the song is deeply rooted in self identity. The evening concluded with a two song encore, “One for Sorrow, Two for Joni Jones” and what seems to be the new fan favorite, “Sunshine Baby” which features backup vocals from The 1975’s Matty Healy for a euphoric yet folky tune.
Bain’s earlier works hold the foundation for her latest work; and hearing her sound evolve since the EPs till now has so far been a very pleasant journey. I don’t believe Amber has released anything short of extraordinary and I am already eagerly awaiting to hear what’s to come next from The Japanese House.
All photos by Andrew Lagunas