It'll be difficult to stop listening to this EP. Bain's vocals cut through and keep you hooked even with its inclusion of a whopping nine minute record.
As The Japanese House, self-produced solo artist Amber Bain has made major waves in the indie pop scene since first releasing in early 2015. Amassing over a million streams on Spotify every month, the vocalist – who often also contributes guitar, synthesizer and keyboard to her tracks – has released her first 2017 collection. Following her trend of four song EPs, Saw You In A Dream is no different formally than what has come previously but this is not to Bain’s disadvantage, as albums often hold the risk of having several songs within them which contribute nothing to the overall sound, whereas a concentrated EP maintains focus. You’re never questioning the inclusion of songs and that makes the listening experience of Saw You In A Dream rather enjoyable.
The title track comes doused in entrancing hypnotic vocals, largely relying on guitar and keyboard until the bridge amps up the track by lacing it with electronic undertones. The return then back to the original melody makes it feel all-the-more stripped back, with this moment being the song’s standout. In contrast, ‘Somebody You Found’ is definitely the most upbeat track on the EP with a distinctive indie feel reminiscent of Dirty Hit labelmates The 1975 – which is understandable as George Daniel of the band often produces alongside Bain. With a more simple structure and heavy use of drums and guitar, its place within the tracklisting falls perfectly before the change in direction we see in subsequent song ‘3/3’. Jarring with ‘Somebody You Found’, the track loops around, with the same vocals repeated but not in a way which becomes monotonous. This structure plays into the daze felt when listening to the EP in its entirety and includes more of a reliance on electronics.
By far the best song is ‘Count To Nine’. Clocking in at just over nine minutes, the whole track appears as a dream sequence, shifting and turning accordingly with a constant battle between electronics and guitars. “You said hold your breath and count to nine” is uttered throughout as a kind of constant whilst the music itself is consistently shapeshifting, developing and regressing.
This whole EP falls under the branch of late-night music and that’s why it’s so brilliant. Bain’s vocals cut through to induce you into a trance-like state which cannot be snapped out of easily and holds the listener to anticipate each new track. The Japanese House’s quick rise to success does not need to be questioned here – their four song EPs stand alone as set masterpieces reminiscent of different times.
Saw You In A Dream is out now via Dirty Hit