The Japanese House @ The Leadmill

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a gig quite like this. The music that The Japanese House make continually defies any attempt to label or describe it, making a review hard to write I’ll admit.

There’s no way I can tell you who they sound like; no-one else makes sounds like this. The music is a spiky, alien sounding tapestry of sounds, still recognisable as songs, but giving you the feeling of being in the same room as some weird experiment in alternative sound. They are not a band; Amber Bian is The Japanese House, and the sheer confidence and poise with which she shapes and commands the sounds is an astonishing achievement for a 20-year old from London. Her guitar is played upside down, so from the very outset you know it’s never going to sound quite right. The songs are often punctuated with sharp, angular, electrical discharges of guitar bursts, and her vocals are fed into some sort of parallel universe filter which adds layers and pools of reflection, then spits them out to sound only vaguely human, but all the time retaining a beautiful, melodic presence. Captivating doesn’t do it justice; tonight’s performance was the most perfectly formed set of songs from a dynamic and emerging new talent.

Watch for The Japanese House.

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