Swim Against The Tide is the third EP release from London singer-songwriter The Japanese House — otherwise known as Amber Bain. The 21-year-old has defied all odds in the past year, shooting to relative fame following the release of her first single ‘Pools To Bathe In’. The track received millions of plays on SoundCloud and was honoured with Annie Mac’s ‘Hottest Record’ brand on the DJ’s BBC Radio 1 prime time show. So soon enough fans were flocking to The Japanese House’s first ever UK tour, during October last year, in their hoards.
The new EP sees Bain step away from what is expected of her and start to experiment with her sound, as it kicks off with the deliciously tropical titular track. Once a mysterious figure, critics weren’t sure what to make of The Japanese House and her heavy use of electronics and vocals that make it hard to pinpoint her gender— but that’s exactly what makes her so exceptional. She’s far more recognisable these days, especially thanks to her affiliation with indie pop titans The 1975, but she still manages to be quite the enigma.
Each track sounds as if it’s been crafted as opposed to written and performed; it’s evident Bain puts all her heart and soul in to her music, and no two songs sound the same. ‘Face Like Thunder’ is the hit single from this record, receiving constant airplay from BBC Radio 1 and raving reviews. It’s dripping with 80’s pop influence, which is a stark contrast from its successor, ‘Good Side In’. The beautifully delivered acoustic intro leads in to Bain’s familiar haunting vocals paired up with a great many intricate electronic parts.
There’s no popular artist out there that sounds quite like The Japanese House, and that’s part of the reason why she’s so successful. Bain’s sound is fresh; fans are captivated by the unusual beats and ambiguous vocals, exploring the new and unknown.