Review: The Japanese House – Swim Against The Tide EP


An expertly-crafted juvenile take on dream pop from Amber Bain's project.

Swim Against The Tide, the third EP in the space of a year from Buckinghamshire-based The Japanese House, continues to show off her unique styling whilst moving slightly away from what has previously been described as “alien.” Showcasing sole member Amber Bain’s self-proclaimed “warm dreampop,” it expertly creates an airy, dream-like state that doesn’t end up dropping you back down into real life.

Its title track introduces the theme with a slowly-built introduction that combines a mixture of synths and steel drums that gradually meld into Bain’s silky vocals. This cohesion appears ever-present throughout the rest of the EP, including the addition of subtle off-timed child-like vocals in ‘Face Like Thunder,’ which features a chorus with a surprising, yet uplifting, toned-down 90s feel. As this styling continues throughout, small additions on each track helps to create seperate entities: ‘Good Side In’ features tapping on a table instead of a drumbeat that matches the solitary acoustic guitar in the introduction, alongside some bizarre background noises that I, to this day, cannot put my finger on; ‘Leon’ shows off something far more sombre than the rest of the EP – a love song with an obvious subject and based on the film of the same name.

The one disappointment I have throughout this four track collection is that whenever a song is building up to the chorus it merely crests – just when you expect something big to happen, it doesn’t. Instead, Swim Against The Tide flattens out to the same old hushed melodies, particularly on the track of the same name. That said, it isn’t hard to see why The Japanese House is supporting The 1975 on their upcoming tour – her debut EP was co-produced by Matty Healy, and what has followed obviously shares influences with February’s I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It. With this latest marvellous effort, Amber Bain is really putting her name on the map.

Swim Against The Tide is out now via Dirty Hit


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SUSUtv Station Manager 2016/17 and News Exec 2015/16. Gamer. Alternative Music Lover.

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