It’s still small steps for Amber Bain, but as The Japanese House, she’s bit-by-bit establishing herself as a pop force like no other. Debut EP ‘Pools to Bathe In’ was alien-like, spinning magic out of multi-layered vocals and playful synths. On ‘Clean’, Bain makes a run for it. The focal points of her first work are magnified, and there’s a noted confidence with every next step.
‘Clean’’s title-track is a magnifying love song made out of new shapes, while ‘Letter By The Water’ finds sweetness in the deftest of touches. ‘Cool Blue’, the EP’s highlight, is less subtle. Beginning with Bon Iver-style plucking, it gives way to a bright-eyed, brilliantly odd slant on pop. Give Bain a standard set of tools and she’ll manage to make something strange. It’s her finest skill, evident in the space of two blink-and-you-missed-it EPs.
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