The Japanese House is on the cusp of releasing her debut album (rejoice) and tonight she gives a glimpse into that future at London’s Scala.
On record, Amber is quiet and reflective. Even in those big, booming declarations of knowing or crystal clear realisation, there’s a privacy. Her collection of EPs feel like a series of diary entries, something to protect, treasure and pour yourself into. Live, it’s a very different beast.
Having toured relentlessly and globally, ticking off Reading Festival and multiple arenas with The 1975 in the process, Amber knows that her songs have become bigger than her. Tonight, they sound massive as she faces outward and shares her world with the packed room.
Opening with a joyful, rushing ‘Face Like Thunder’, there’s a skip to the frayed ends that elevates the track to new heights. There’s a similar lift to ‘Somebody You Found’ as end of the line breaks, fracture and glimmer in the dark. Rather than wallow in loneliness and loss, tonight you hold onto a friend and lean into the crash. This is a communal experience.
‘Swim Against The Tide’ bubbles and beams. Live, it’s heavier, more jagged and stands on the edge of control before the teasing breakdown lets loose, but only for a moment. What’s that about always leaving them wanting more?
As powerful and awe-inspiring as this clutch of greatest hits so far stands, it’s the material from the imminent ‘Good At Falling’ that really shapes tonight.
‘Lilo’ swaggers with a rediscovered confidence as an actual lilo is thrown about by the crowd. It’s already a moment to behold as it straddles intimate and powerful, before the choppy, twitching serenity of ‘Follow My Girl’ twists with known direction and hungry adventure. ‘You Seemed So Happy’ fizzes with a rainbow snarl while ‘Maybe You’re The Reason’ is focused, then fluid. Taking a deep breath, it bursts into pop shades and for a split second, it feels like The Japanese House can go which ever direction she wishes. As ‘Good At Falling’ approaches, it’s a belief that’s only going to grow.
Words: Ali Shutler