Japanese Breakfast Soft Sounds From Another Planet Dead Oceans

07 10

In the video for Michelle Zauner’s song Machinist, a woman falls in love with a robot and hallucinates on rocket fuel. She then tears up her spaceship in an attempt to build a new body for her robot lover. The video paves a cinematic path for Soft Sounds From Another Planet, Zauner’s new LP as Japanese Breakfast.

The album is a follow-up to 2016’s Japanese Breakfast LP Psychopomp, a record of airy indie-pop which dealt with themes of loss and grief. Co-produced by Ariel Pink collaborator Jorge Elbrecht and Craig Hendrix (who worked with Zauner’s former band Little Big League) Soft Sounds From Another Planet is much more polished than its predecessor. And as the title denotes, the record explores a sonic landscape inspired by science fiction. This theme acts, perhaps, as a metaphor for the process of moving away from grief. “I want to be a woman of regimen,” Zauner declares in opening track, Diving Woman, and the warbling synths that envelop her voice have an extraterrestrial feel.

My body is a blade that cuts a path from day to day… Knuckled under pain you mourn but your blood is flowing,” she sings on Body is a Blade. Zauner’s words hold a discernible pain that punctuates against the instrumentals, and it’s through this language of hurt that the music manifests. In its 12 tracks, Soft Sounds From Another Planet is a reflection of grief, which depicts its enduring nature and many manifestations. The album harks to not just a personal past, but also towards a future that encompasses all the fear and excitement of discovering a new planet.

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