Ja­panese Break­fast, “Soft Sounds From An­other Planet”

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - — Gra­ham Am­brose

If “Every­body Wants to Love You” de­fined the at­ti­tude of Ja­panese Break­fast’s angsty de­but al­bum, the tone of its sopho­more record comes to­gether on “Boy­ish,” a wist­ful re­nun­ci­a­tion of ado­les­cence from an artist painfully aware she’s still grow­ing up. In “Soft Sounds From An­other Planet,” Michelle Zauner, the Brook­lyn-based singer-song­writer be­hind the project, pulls back the cur­tain, then tears it down com­pletely. She’s an am­bi­tious sort of trou­ba­dour un­afraid to ex­pose her de­mons: youth­ful naiveté on “Div­ing Woman,” fear of mor­tal­ity on “Till Death” and heart­break on the bare bal­lad “This House.” Fans of “Psy­chopomp” will be dis­ap­pointed at the de­par­ture from bub­blegum lo-fi to­ward a more ma­ture prod­uct that drags down more than lifts up. But Ja­panese Break­fast is still cook­ing, and the re­sult is some­thing sa­vory, if not ex­actly sweet.

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