LIVE REVIEW: The Japanese House @ 02 Academy Oxford

// by Sophie Davies //

Having previously seen The Japanese House opening for the teenage pop icons The 1975 in December, I had very high expectations for seeing them perform on their own tour as I recalled their mesmerising, almost hypnotic performance. The sole creation of twenty-one year old Amber Bain, The Japanese House, an aptly ungendered name, is her gorgeous creation of indie-pop paradise, with her artistic authority evident in her command of the stage.

Listening to Bain’s music is like entering into a rainforest and fairy tale simultaneously: the synthesis of extensive reverb and ghostly harmonised vocals hang together to create soothing melodies. Whilst this combination risks becoming almost robotic, the creations of The Japanese House are therapeutic through their surrealist musicality. Their latest EP, Saw You in a Dream, is expected to be released in a matter of days, and Bain teased the crowd with a sneak peak of the title track itself. In comparison to the dark shades of tracks such as ‘Teeth,’ ‘Saw You in a Dream’ is faster in tempo, and more upbeat in spirit, with Bain’s more feminine and less manipulated vocals creating a dream-like lullaby. Since the show, The Japanese House have released two more tracks from their forthcoming EP – ‘Somebody you found’ and ‘3/3,’ both complete with their trademark harmonic layering, springing rhythms and indulgent guitar tones.

Whilst The Japanese House have only released three EPs to date (Pools to Bathe In, 2015, Clean, 2015 and Swim Against the Tide, 2016), they played a twelve-song setlist, spanning their earliest tracks such as ‘Clean’ and ‘Teeth’, and climaxing in their concluding performance of ‘Face like Thunder.’ Personal highlights included their performance of ‘Cool Blue,’ with the combination of the running, mellow guitar and pastel light show providing a truly ethereal and magical atmosphere inside of the concert hall.

Overall, The Japanese House’s performance was an unmissable and incredible show. Returning to my opening sentiments of excitement, it is essential to emphasise that the artistic prowess, and success, of The Japanese House should be viewed in isolation of the Manchester boys – Bain is an individual and highly successful artist of her own mesmerising masterpiece.

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