Release Date: May 8, 2012
Record label: Terrible Records
On "Bombastic," a track near the end of his debut album World, You Need a Change of Mind, Kindness main man Adam Bainbridge spends a bit of time listing off his influences. He probably didn't need to because the sound and feel of his inspirations bleeds through almost every minute of the album. World is made up of DNA derived from (to name a few) the slinky disco of Larry Levan, the skittering funk of Prince, the weird bedroom pop of Todd Rundgren, the sophisticated groove of Nile Rodgers, and above all, the hedonistic grace of Arthur Russell.
Is anyone making babies to Prince's music these days? With artist-turned-symbol-turned man's copulation catalogue faded to a kitshy memory ("Hey, remember that time we made out to 'Little Red Corvette'?" it seems to shout), British producer Adam Bainbridge has thrown his hat into the ring to become the next in R&B royalty. But while Prince leaned on his singular vocal squeal, Bainbridge and his band Kindness rely on an altogether smoother and more multi-faceted sound. On the heels of previous singles "SEOD" and "Cyan," their debut full-length World, You Need a Change of Mind is a 10-track, high-gloss affair that hangs on a blend of R&B and disco, stirred into a chillwave-style sheen.
The man behind Kindness, one English/German Adam Bainbridge, may utilize a few lo-fi effects and productions on his debut record, but only a lazy critic would categorize him alongside the likes of Washed Out. Although it would be easy to make the mistake of categorizing Bainbridge’s music as “chillwave”, listening to World, You Need a Change of Mind makes it clear he has little desire to chill. The record in fact sounds like it’s 4AM, and Bainbridge is trying to party, but he’s so intoxicated he’s not sure what party he’s at, and at times things get a little hazy.
From the project name to the album title to the beautiful hair framing Adam Bainbridge's face on the cover to the competently percolating grooves, everything about Kindness' World, You Need a Change of Mind goes down easy. The UK-born singer-songwriter has a real feel for idiom. He can do washed-out new wave, strobing disco, atmospheric balladry. He'll throw in a sax break and the odd cover.
London/Berlin-based Adam Bainbridge's Kindness project has been festooned with comparisons to Prince and Arthur Russell. In fact, his achingly hip music is awkward to define, a union of faux-disco/AOR and Ibiza chillout that arose from experiments with the chillwave fad for smoothed-out versions of 80s pop. Two unlikely covers from that period remain.
Adam Bainbridge, aka. Kindness, is 2012's latest act that just oozes cool. Look at the cover for World, You Need A Change Of Mind. Look at the cool, with the charity shop jumper that probably cost a grand, and the cutesy Tatty Devine-inspired necklace, and the hair so illustrious Rapunzel's probably got her prince out trying to find his hairdresser as we speak.
With its inviting and warmly atmospheric hi-fi production (courtesy of Cassius's Philippe Zdar), the debut album from British dance musician Adam Bainbridge takes us on a trip through tempos and styles: pop balladry, left-field disco, rare groove and new jack swing. It's clearly the work of someone with a deep affection for dance music history, especially the era when DJs like Larry Levan took partiers on transcendental journeys late into the night. Many of the best songs are the headiest: the rubbery groove of Gee Up, the squealing, sampledelic ode to late 80s R&B That's Alright, and swirling disco closer Doigsong.
[a]Kindness[/a] – aka Adam Bainbridge – appeared in August 2009 with a wicked cover of The Replacements’ ‘Swingin’ Party’, then vanished. Amid the smartly rendered pastiche of this debut, Bainbridge references Prince and Janet Jackson, yet turns those joyous sounds unpleasantly arch.His lyrics are knowingly banal (“[i]Baby, I can’t wait any longer[/i]”, on ‘Bombastic’), his voice unaffecting, and anyone peddling semi-ironic covers of the fucking EastEnders theme deserves to lose their fingers. However, the bass on ‘SEOD’ rattles the skins of your eyeballs, and it’s in the production that this dreary affair occasionally explodes into colour.[i]Laura Snapes[/i] .
Photographer-cum-producer Adam Bainbridge has chosen a cute name – Kindness - and gently polemical album title that exist in distinct contrast to the high-gloss, style-conscious demi-monde in which his music operates. Sonically, he is bang on trend as the vogue for chillwave (those hazy deconstructions of 70s and 80s dance and pop) continues. Recorded with French house nobility Cassius, World… packs in elegant, wistful takes on funk, disco and unloved pop songs (Anita Dobson's "Anyone Can Fall In Love", anyone?).
Shamanic and shambolic in equal measure, there's genuine invention at play here. Iain Moffatt 2012 Most performers taking their cue from Paul McCartney tend to focus on his indie-co-inventing melodicism or his silly-love-songs optimism, but never let it be said that Adam Bainbridge is most performers. Instead, doubtless recalling that Sir Thumbsaloft's more eccentric manoeuvres included taking a stroll through the Crossroads theme on Venus and Mars, the artist operating as Kindness has opted on his debut to have a stab at Anita "ANGE!" Dobson's vocal version of the EastEnders titles, Anyone Can Fall in Love.
If Adam Bainbridge's thinking behind waiting two-and-a-half years after we all thought his 'Swingin Party' was quite nice to release his debut album was to let the crest of chillwave pass, it was not a good plan. Whereas at the height of what in retrospect looks a bit like one of the most half-arsed genres ever to have kind-of existed he'd have seemed among the best of the bunch, to sell us on hazy, lazy dance-funk with a haunting air of sadness now that we're all fed up to the back teeth with lesser practitioners means he'd have to have something very solid up his sleeve. And while World, You Need A Change Of Mind is pleasing in places, solid it certainly ain't.