Japanese Breakfast, “Soft Sounds From Another Planet”
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.