The Japanese House celebrates a special album with a special show at London’s XOYO

Few artists can call themselves singular or stand out, but The Japanese House certainly can.
Photo credit: Patrick Gunning

“I’m absolutely shitting myself”.

It’s mere moments into The Japanese House’s first live show in nearly four years, and Amber Bain is feeling all possible emotions. Hours after her second album ‘In The End It Always Does’ has landed, there’s a reason why the tiny confines of London’s XOYO are filled to the brim with fans eager to catch a glimpse at an artist who has always pointed to something more than just the mundane. From the very beginning, that sense of the special has circled The Japanese House. Whether it’s buzzy early tasters across a string of beloved EPs or the shimmering debut ‘Good At Falling’ – Amber has almost existed outside the expected. Tonight, it’s both a welcome return from an artist paving her own path and a glorious next evolution for someone ready to take on the world.

From the deafening reaction that comes from the moment Amber walks out on stage, every step feels right. ‘Sad To Breathe’ and ‘Boyhood’ are swooning in swagger. Decked out with a full band, the lush sounds that bubble across The Japanese House’s catalogue are given the sort of widescreen display they rightfully deserve. ‘You Seem So Happy’, ‘Lilo’, ‘Something Had To Change’, and the drowned-out singalong that comes with ‘Saw You In A Dream’ capture what’s pulled so many towards The Japanese House over the years. To-the-bone tales served up in a dazzling world of sound; a sense of real comfort sweeps XOYO throughout.

Never stopping for breath, it means The Japanese House can go from a lively mover like ‘Maybe You’re The Reason’, to the stripped-raw tones of ‘Chewing Cotton Wool’, and back to the storming ‘Touching Yourself’, all the while still completely connected. Bursting with ideas and with that clear vision firmly in place, the release of closer ‘Sunshine Baby’ perfectly captures a return both wanted and needed in equal measure. Few artists can call themselves singular or stand out, but The Japanese House certainly can. No shitting yourself required.