The Japanese House


Monday, November 06
Doors: 7pm : Show: 8pm

“I know I shouldn’t need it but I want affection / I know I shouldn’t want it but I need attention,” sings Amber Bain – AKA UK musician The Japanese House – on “Touching Yourself”, a sad and sexy pop-leaning earworm about desire and heartbreak. Much of second album In the End It Always Does is contradictory like this: beginnings and endings, obsession and mundanity, falling in love and falling apart. It’s the perfect circular portrait of a relationship – with others, with herself, with an experience – hence the simple, circular album cover.

Written during a creative burst at the end of 2021, In the End It Always Does is primarily inspired by the events preceding it – including Bain’s first time moving to Margate, being in a throuple and the slow dissolution of those relationships. “[These two people] were together for six years and I met them and then we all fell in love at the same time – and then one of them left,” Bain’s remembers. “It was a ridiculously exciting start to a relationship. It was this high… And then suddenly I’m in this really domestic thing, and it’s not like there was other stuff going on – it was lockdown.”

The album came together just as that chapter in her life was falling apart, with each song almost acting as a snapshot in time. From the dizzying swell of album opener “Spot Dog” (a rework of the 101 Dalmatians theme, her exes favourite film) to the emotional gut punch of “Over There” (an ode to relinquishing the throuple) and the sugar-sweet pop hooks of “Sunshine Baby” (a bright, bittersweet acceptance of the end), so much of In the End It Always Does glitters and shimmers with the mixed feelings of finally letting go. “Love was never the issue. I never wasn’t in love,” says Bain. “But I realised I wasn’t in love with myself. We broke up when the album was done.”

Four years after her widely celebrated debut Good at Falling, this album sees Bain lean even further into the pop realm – with help from Matty Healy and George Daniel from The 1975, Katie Gavin from MUNA and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon among others. Bain credits Gavin especially with injecting her with creative energy and inspiration throughout. On the lush, lullaby-like “Morning Pages”, Gavin sings, “She’ll do that thing where she sits at your feet / And it used to be so hot, now it’s just sweet.” For Bain, these words gradually became her own. “She wrote a verse really quickly and sent it back, classic Katie-style,” Bain remembers. “At the time I was like, she’s writing about her relationship, and… I guess it became mine.”

The album isn’t all heartbreak and lost love, though. On “Friends”, an upbeat, dance floor-ready song about threesomes, Bain sings in warped, auto tuned vocals, “Do I think about her more than you? Do I touch the way you want me to?” It was light relief to write about being one part of a three. “So many parts of being in a throuple is hilarious,” she says now, laughing. “It was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. We’d go to a restaurant and be like ‘table for three’ and go to bed and be like ‘Good night, good night!’ It was very easy for me as a little unicorn to come in. And then suddenly I had two hot girlfriends.”

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