JAPANESE BREAKFAST – ” Soft Sounds From Another Planet “

Posted: July 29, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Michelle Zauner introduced the arrival of “Soft Sounds From Another Planet”  the new album from Japanese Breakfast, with short video, that hinted at an intergalactic theme. Fittingly, she had initially set out to write a sci-fi concept album about a woman who, after falling in love with a robot and experiencing heartbreak, enlists in the Mars One project.

The plan only carried through to the lead single, “Machinist,” but the theme of exploring the great beyond prevails throughout the album. The concept allowed Zauner to play with new elements that vastly differ from her punk roots in Little Big League throughout the record, autotune and synthesizers create an otherworldly ambience. Even the re-worked version of a Little Big League song, “Boyish,” sounds like something entirely new.

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What started as a fantastic theme gradually became a metaphor for the fear of death. Zauner explores that idea in full on “Till Death,” a hauntingly beautiful song that details the aftermath of losing someone dear: “Haunted dreams / Stages of grief / Repressed memories / Anger and bargaining.” On her debut as Japanese Breakfast, “Psychopomp” Zauner had grappled with losing her mother to cancer. Now, on Soft Sounds, she reflects on the person she’s become, after surviving through the pain.

Japanese Breakfast’s ‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet’ is less of a concept album about space exploration so much as it is a mood board come to life. Over the course of 12 tracks, Michelle Zauner explores a sonic landscape of her own design, one that’s big enough to contain her influences. There are songs on this album that recall the pathos of Roy Orbison’s ballads, while others could soundtrack a cinematic drive down one of Blade Runner’s endless skyways. Zauner’s voice is capacious; one moment she’s serenading the past, the next she’s robotically narrating a love story over sleek monochrome, her lyrics more pointed and personal than ever before. While ‘Psychopomp’ was a genre-spanning introduction to Japanese Breakfast, this visionary sophomore album launches the project to new heights.

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