The Japanese House Preview New Album with Blissful & Piercing New Singles, Boyhood & Sad To Breathe
British singer-songwriter Amber Bain, better known as The Japanese House reignites the indie-pop music scene with first singles since 2020 EP, Chewing Cotton Wool. Bain’s debut record Good At Falling, released in 2019, was not only successful but sophisticated, reflecting the poise and integrity of a veteran artist. It was clear very early on that it was only up from there.
"Boyhood" and "Sad To Breathe" introduce listeners to the ethereal world of highly anticipated
sophomore record, In The End, It Always Does, set to release on June 30th, 2023.
Both tracks have concrete foundations, with the distinct and prominent production of George Daniel of The 1975. The singles still, however, reflect something distinctly unique and unfounded.
"Sad To Breathe" begins with whimsical and starry keys, instantly making one feel as though they are floating above clouds with ease and grace. With the sonic and slight tuning to Bain’s voice, a classic component of The Japanese House, the song kicks off with lyrics that unleash feelings of heartbreak and longing, as many of the best songs tend to do. In a chamber of echoes, Bain painfully lets out, “Cause you’re right and I’m tryin’ / To change myself, but it’s tirin’ / And I go to bed and I’m cryin’ / ‘Cause it’s sad to breathe the air when you’re not there”
Quickly switching to a hypnotic upbeat tune with heavier percussion accompanied by layers of playful guitar riffs, the song begins to burst with light, eclipsed subtly by the melancholia of the lyrics–maintaining a perfect balance fitting to the iconic sound and style of The Japanese House.
"Sad To Breathe" is clear in its energetic and unapologetic immersion into the pop genre, shrouded with much deeper meaning once you take a closer look.
The second single, “Boyhood” reflects deeply on what it means to grow up queer, as Bain gives listeners an incredibly personal look into the road to self-discovery and the mourning of youthful time lost to wanting and trying to be something you are not. Bain confesses to spending her adult life soul-searching, reaching for external validation and answers as to who she really is. Ruminating on the non-linear pathway to finding oneself as a young queer person, she writes, “I used to be somebody else / And I’m still out looking for me / I go out and try to chase myself / Find someone who might restore me”, "Boyhood" resonates intensely with the confusion of youth and painful nostalgia.
Bain's voice is soft as is the melody, brought to life with electrifying and poignant drumbeats lined by an acoustic guitar. Playful and exuberant synths highlight the pop feel to the song, forming a riveting juxtaposition between sombreness and exuberance.
The title, "Boyhood" speaks to an alternate reality that Bain never got the opportunity nor space to explore while growing up– that of boyhood and what it means to grow up as a boy. With the blurring of gender lines, Bain gives us a striking look into nostalgia for something that never was and longing for everything that could've been.
"Boyhood" does a brilliant job of combining the many experiences of growing up within a binary gender and what it means to break free– finally able to fully immerse into a not-so-black-and-white world.
You can pre-save In The End, It Always Does here.