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Kindness World, You Need a Change of Mind Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

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. Divisive! Although, to be fair, it's hardly a faithful re-recording, opting instead to give it a burnished RnB loverman approach over bedspring basslines and satisfied squelching that recalls Isley-Jasper-Isley's original Caravan of Love.

And that's not even nearly the half of it. World, You Need a Change of Mind proves to be a wickedly slippery affair, holing up in the hinterland between hypnagogia and chillwave and then shooting through it with jolts of funk ferocity. There are murmurs of Ain't Nothin’ Goin' On But the Rent and Pull Up to the Bumper on initial single / Replacements cover Swingin' Party and Doigsong respectively. Elsewhere, saxophone that acts as a signifier to both slinky exotica and brassy early-80s activism is employed to ace effect on opener SEOD, alongside echoes of the sort of dancefloor clank that Hercules and Azari enlivened 2011 so heartily with. Vocally, meanwhile, there's a wilful technical naiveté strikingly at odds with the warm, coaxing-aside-for-a-soothing-beverage multi-tracked proficiency on show; like so much of the 00s mainstream, Kindness is ladling from the cauldron of studio magic, but the results have a humanity that sets them apart from the brittle pristineness of modern pop.

Indeed, for all its capricious cherry-picking of the historic benchmarks of sensuality and synthetics, there's still a sense of genuine invention that permeates the whole album, and could be made no more explicit than in Bombastic, Bainbridge's contribution to the idol-worship-list canon. If it's not quite The 2 Bears' Be Strong, it nonetheless makes bedfellows of such futurist types as Larry Levan, Brian Wilson, Kate Bush and, oh yes, John Lennon. None of whom, by that stage, come as any surprise; shamanic and shambolic in equal measure he may be, but there's no faulting the heroism of Kindness' inspirations or aspirations.

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