Release Date: Oct 14, 2014
Record label: Mom + Pop Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Head here to submit your own review of this album. It was a live performance that made me fall in love with Kindness. He played at Manchester's Soup Kitchen a couple of years back, his lanky figure stalking the stage as three soul singers wooped behind him. Bainbridge seemed sincere, yet the whole ethos of the band was built around fun.
As you might expect from a man who launched his musical career while studying at the Philadelphia Institute for Advanced Study and who followed his 2012 debut album with a documentary on the Washington DC go-go scene, Kindness’s Adam Bainbridge has a somewhat scholarly take on soul music. However, his meticulous approach proves to be an advantage rather than an oxymoron. A hefty sample of Art of Noise’s Moments in Love on With You signals Bainbridge’s aim to combine soulful sensuality with artful experimentation; with the aid of some delicate playing from jazz sessioneers Finn Peters and Sam Beste he duly pulls it off.
Who is Adam Bainbridge? For a guy who's front and centre on the cover of both of his albums, Bainbridge, under the producer pseudonym Kindness, remains an elusive figure, hiding right in the open. His 2012 debut, World, You Need a Change of Mind presented the London-based musician as a musical prodigy sitting at the nexus of '80s dance, '90s R&B and '00s indie. But in 2014, that confluence of influences feels less like musical identity than the sound du jour.Although it can't quite manage to overcome this hurdle, Otherness, his superior followup, continues Bainbridge's sonic journey nicely.
Adam Bainbridge is the sort of producer who works his negative space as hard as he works a disco bass line or a slice of funk guitar. His cover of The Replacements’ “Swingin’ Party” on Kindness’ debut, World, You Need a Change of Mind, lifted the raw rock gem into an electric haze on the back of an insistent, collapsing beat. As a chilled-out dance track, the song’s pun only got punnier; you could imagine it as “party music” for a gathering of people busy staring down their mortality and helplessness instead of chasing down the next high.
Drawing from a finely curated record collection, the British-born musician Adam Bainbridge makes danceable and referential pop as Kindness. With this project, which he started during an academic stint in Philadelphia in 2007, he’s approached pop music with unbridled enthusiasm, striking a balance between paying abundant homage to his wide array of influences and crafting his own coherent aesthetic. His debut album, 2012’s World, You Need a Change of Mind, though charming and eclectic, found that balance slightly skewed toward the first part of the equation.
Adam Bainbridge, aka Kindness, is like that friend who turns you on to new or obscure music. His debut album, World, You Need A Change Of Mind, played like a history lesson in dance music sub-genres. Astute listeners might pick up on the jazz and funk references in its follow-up, but this time around Bainbridge has channelled his influences into more personal, relatable music.
It’s always a reliable indicator of a debut album’s success when you look at the supporting cast of guests, collaborators and associates that feature on the follow up album. This is the case for producer Adam Bainbridge aka Kindness, whose cachet has certainly increased following his well received 2012 debut World You Need A Change Of Mind. Where that album was an insular solo affair, follow up Otherness sees Bainbridge opening up his sound and allowing Kindness to broaden out into a more collaborative approach featuring varied contributions from Robyn, Kelela, Dev Hynes, M.anifest and the well-honed and renowned mixing skills of expert engineer Jimmy Douglass.
Adam Bainbridge first caught attention with the 2009 single release of his maudlin, mutated cover of The Replacements’ stunning ‘Swingin’ Party’. That track was also the unsettling, glacially beautiful highlight of his 2012 debut full-length release under the Kindness moniker, World You Need A Change Of Mind. It was a strange record, produced to ice-cold perfection but lacking the quality of songs you might expect from such a lauded (and obviously skilled) cult figure.
Adam Bainbridge is a member of a group of voracious, industrious artists—among them Devonté Hynes, Solange, Sky Ferreira, and Kelela—who consider themselves "pop. " It's a group that values collaboration, guesting on one another's albums and who, increasingly, are dipping their toes into popular music as producers and writers. “You’ll never guess who I just worked with,” is, these days, a popular volley between Bainbridge and his former flat-mate Hynes, both now in-demand collaborators for more traditionally popular artists.
After the release of his first album under the name Kindness, Adam Bainbridge took the advice of that record's title and had a change of mind. Or at least a big change in the way he operated. After a few years writing downer disco jams and working with legendary French producer Philip Zdar, Bainbridge took a slight left turn into downer R&B ballads and a more collaborative style with his second album Otherness.
This second Kindness album improves on 2012’s debut, ‘World, You Need A Change Of Mind’, but not by much. ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’ is a decent Prince pastiche, and the melancholy of ‘This Is Not About Us’ feels affecting, but singer-songwriter-producer Adam Bainbridge allows too many of his 80s-influenced pop-R&B tracks to meander, lending ‘Otherness’ the air of dinner party music for middle-aged hipsters. Kelela, Robyn and Dev Hynes guest, but also highlight the shortcomings of Bainbridge’s own vocals, which sometimes lack soul and are rarely memorable.
Describing Kindness's debut album was no easy task. Was it hip-hop? Was it R&B? Was it dance? Nobody really quite knew. But World, You Need a Change of Mind was such an intriguing record that it didn't matter. Its creator, Adam Bainbridge, was undeniably a star in the making..
His vaguely mysterious aura, his initial inclination towards otherworldly battered funk, that artistic sponge aesthetic and even the model-worthy daydream stare that emblazons this one’s cover art - all of these alluring qualities reel anticipation around a release from Adam Bainbridge’s Kindness. Yet despite an opening red herring – the parping humdinger ‘World Restart’ – and a few flashes of brilliance, his sophomore full-length is at times uninspired and leaves an emptiness in the gut. If Sean Nicholas Savage conjured his sickly R&B whilst embracing modern production methods, enlisting an uber cool cast and lacing each lovesick ode with vogue-ish computer beats, we’d have a ringer for this record.