The Japanese House is the pseudonym of Amber Bain from the UK, following her first debut EP released just ten days before. Mysterious in how fresh it is, Clean shows promise even though there are a few kinks to be worked out.
The title track, “Clean,” is an excellent single in itself. As the album continues onward through its four tracks, the beats all seem to follow a running synth, alt-pop rhythm. Although reminiscent of the moody, slow vibes of bands like the XX, also from the UK, Clean ventures into some fairly refreshing ground. As the EP rolls onward and into “Cool Blue,” the tone carries onward but raises the synths and sound a little louder. The instrumentation, including the hazy guitar, grows into a greater, less funneled sound. Sadly, the fault of this EP is the rendering of both “Letter by the Water” and “Sugar Pill” into relatively forgettable additions to the first two. Both have the benefit of keeping a steady rhythm, but ultimately fail the test of monotony. The vocals behind an electric muzzle add to this negative, but this is a minor gripe for something that ultimately feels like new ground.
There is a lot to be said for adding to the synth-pop genre at a time when artists like Grimes are gaining so much attention and still pulling through with relatively original tracks. That is precisely why Clean should be given your time. After two or three times through, something clicks and these songs become a bit of an ear worm. It will be interesting to see what else this artist puts out, and one should be encouraged to keep their ears open.
Recommended if you like: The XX, The 1975, Brenmar, The Landing
Recommended Tracks: 1 (Clean), 2 (Cool Blue)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Dylan Fox on 11/21/15