Album Review: The Japanese House – In The End It Always Does

Amber Bain's second full-length pulls her glistening pop particles and melodic shards into a pleasing whole

The Japanese House has come full circle. Though pockets of the glossy, glitchy pop that Amber Bain made her signature in early EPs bubbled to the surface of her 2019 debut album Good At Falling, they would just as quickly dissipate as the despondent tone of the record took hold.

But as the four singles from In The End It Always Does have already made clear, the palpable and emotive shine has gotten brighter; like a kind of bubblegum emo. Layers of melodic shards and glistening, dust-like particles re-fill the space on the fantasising ‘Touching Yourself’ or the run-through-fields energy of standout ‘Boyhood’.

The Japanese House - Boyhood (Official Video)

Production wise, the involvement and influence of others is worn proudly on Bain’s sleeve, not least the sleeky 80s guitar tone of The 1975’s Matt Healy and George Daniel, or the instrumental flutters and melodic cadences of Justin Vernon on ‘Indexical Reminder Of A Morning Well Spent’. Bain has attributed MUNA’s Katie Gavin’s help on ‘Morning Pages’ as crucial to the album’s fulfilment. On a lyrical level too, communal, non-conformist love underscores In The End, as Bain reflects on her experience in a throuple relationship over lockdown and its eventual end. On ‘Friends’, so summery and poppy it wouldn’t be out of place on Love Island, she sings “Do I think about her more than you? Do I touch the way you want me to?”

Relationships and their vivid breakdowns continue to punctuate Bain’s second album, and her execution of lines such as “I keep circling, can’t stop a circle/ But I keep coming back around” are just as winding as they’ve ever been, however much what’s going on behind her in the production puts the sweet in bittersweet.

Released: 30 June 2023
Label: Dirty Hit
On tour: October 2023