Like nothing else you’ll hear this year.
Label: Dead Oceans
Released: 14th July 2017
‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet’ is Michelle Zauner’s second album as Japanese Breakfast, and it’s really, really good.
From the atmospheric opening notes of ‘Diving Woman’, this is an album that knows exactly what it wants to do, and the best response is just to buckle up and enjoy the ride because it won’t be like anything else you hear this year.
Tracks like the driving ’12 Steps’ and self-reflective heartbreak anthem ‘Boyish’ stand out on first listen as the obvious singles from the album, with ‘Boyish’ sticking in mind because of the sheer feeling Zauner puts into the lyrics. “I can’t get you off of my mind / You can’t get yours off the Hostess” may seem almost comical written down, but on record, it’s heartbreaking in its intensity.
Alongside these highlights, it’s as much the spaces in between as the few sucker punch tracks that make ‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet’ such a pleasure to listen to. ‘Planetary Ambience’, a minute-long oasis of (who would have guessed it) ambient tranquillity, feels exactly as well-crafted and indispensable to the overall album as any of the full-length tracks, and just as worthwhile.
The overwhelming feeling with the album is that it’s exactly the right length, with no time wasted and nothing added for the hell of it, every second feels worth paying attention to. It’s the stand-out tracks that make ‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet’ a good album, but it’s the way that everything links together in such a perfect way that makes it a great one. Jake Hawkes