Gig Review: The Japanese House - O2 Academy, 19th Nov

Rory Ellis reviews The Japanese House's gig at 02 Academy

Rory Ellis
27th November 2018
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The top room of the O2 academy was host to The Japanese House – solo project of London-based singer/songwriter Amber Bain. Amber initiated the set with her cool and disillusioned sound. Not necessarily the type of music that elicits a headbanging crowd, but certainly one that listened intently. ‘Face Like Thunder’ and ‘Somebody You Found’ transported the audience into a transcendental space of varied sound that is all-the-more affective in the flesh.

It seems to me, that despite the soft nature of the music, the band as a whole moved with elements of shoegaze and that of an excitable new Indie band. As The Japanese house played further through their set, the bass player acquired a tambourine and an unexpected form of energy and enthusiasm emerged. The easy, swaying atmosphere was exchanged for a more upbeat one with ‘Good Side In’. The subtle thumping, along with Amber’s modest jumping forced the crowd to give into a more excitable response to the music. The heavy reverb and pop influences of ‘Follow My Girl’ continued this atmosphere if only for a little while before the subduing nature of ‘Still and ‘Saw You in A Dream’ drove the crowd back in content state of pacification.

Amber introduced her new stuff which is yet to be released. Despite its modest introduction – in line with Amber’s reserved audience interaction – the strong use of the minor key an layered vocals delivered the emotive and affecting crafting of music that The Japanese House’s fans have come to expect.

Bain finished rounded off the set with some of her best and well-known tracks that initiated The Japanese House’s career: ‘Cool Blue’ and ‘Clean’. A testament to Bain’s ability to construct a sonic dream-like space in which lyrics like "This soulless kid was under my skin/ All the things I tried to say remain within" sound all-the-more heart-wrenching. It is clear, that despite the unfortunate brevity of the set, Bain’s live performances are more than capable of moving the audience further than any of her recorded singles.

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