All the best albums are made for mood. Some for when you’re feeling happy and carefree, and some for when you’re driving around the city in the pouring rain, with the neon lights of seafood restaurants and used car dealerships shimmering through your windshield and your tears.
Japanese Breakfast is the latter, and Soft Sounds From Another Planet excels in that transcendent melancholy that we all need to wallow in every once in a while. Japanese Breakfast is the solo nom de guerre of Philadelphia musician Michelle Zauner, of Little Big League. The similarities between the two are there, but while LBL is more brash and in your face, Japanese Breakfast slows things down. Takes its time. And honestly, shows off more of what Zauner is really capable of.
Tracks like “This House” and “12 Steps” and their sparse arrangements fit in nicely with the more layered, keyboard driven numbers like “Machinist”and “Road Head”. The contrast can sound scattered in lesser hands but here, there’s a solid, complimentary cohesion throughout. A reminder that an album of complexity doesn’t have to be complex to listen to.