Dingwalls – February 25th 2016
It’s the eve of The 1975’s highly anticipated second album launch, and Amber Bain is taking to the stage as The Japanese House – her syrupy, serene pop project that she’s taken on the road with the 1975 before. Tonight at Dingwalls, there’s a feverish sense that she could tip over into their world of outlandish fandom at moment now, and the jubilant crowd sure aren’t hindering her case for stardom either.
Bain’s music is a curious one – a sort of slickly modern, more streamlined version of Cocteau Twins that trades their depth and intricacy for an alluring sense of melancholy and moodiness. The Japanese House is very much a project of aesthetics: just one glance at her immaculately chosen, Urban Outfitters-approved cover art will give you the gist of it. But it’s not as devoid of character live, as that would suggest – Bain’s at home on stage, rolling out tracks at her own pace that are more than aptly suitable for what they’re named after – ‘Pools to Bathe In’.
While she doesn’t exactly transport you to the sunkissed shores of southern Spain or France, Bain does take you to a clean, wonderfully calming state of Lanzarote as if governed by Sofia Coppola, and it goes over a treat. Bain’s music is perfect for her audience – ever so slightly nostalgic while remaining fresh and fervent. If it’s her turn to hit the big time, then she might need to stray from the path a little more, but in the meantime the sooner her soothing tunes make the mainstream the better.