Adam Bainbridge, who is known in the music world as Kindness, released his second album Otherness with great expectation from his audience.
This has come after he time spent in the USA working on different sounds and associating himself with acts such as Dev Hynes a.k.a. the brilliant Blood Orange who actually features on the new album in ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’.
Although I enjoyed his last album, Kindness did have a strange start covering the EastEnders theme tune on a track called ‘Anyone Can Fall in Love’. Luckily in his new album, he has picked himself up and seems to be on a more mature track.
Influenced by legends such as Kate Bush, his music has a great freedom to it, hence, album title – Otherness – works. With mainly piano, horns and bass featuring on this album, its simplicity takes over in a comfortable way. Kindness shows definite influences from 80’s disco, with saxophones on several tracks. This stands out particularly on the first track of the album ‘World Restart’. A great introduction to the rest of the album; starting off lively and Jazzy with wild saxophonists making you want to dance. This track features female vocals from Kelela who works nicely with the natural beats from Kindness.
Kindness also incorporates the chilled out sounds of House. In ‘This is Not About Us’ he is more delicate in his work, with strange beats mixing with harmonies and moaning vocals with long chords. It is also prominent that he has been influenced by DJ’s like the late, great Frankie Knuckles.
Carrying on from this, the track ‘I’ll Be Back’ reiterates the classic 80’s mix, which should be thoroughly enjoyed on this album. His vocals also are reminiscent of Black Kids’ track, ‘Hurricane Jane’ from 2008.
With a wealth of collaborations, this album shows off that Kindness obviously enjoys working with similar artists and bringing together different styles to mesh well naturally. Another collaboration with Kelela in ‘With You’, brings a more seductive vocal, her first words being, “baby, tell me your fantasy”. It works wonderfully with the horns and bass to create a strange yet fitting effect for the album. Surreal sounds working together, with elements from Jazz, R&B and House, with remnants of disco also sneaking in there. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album.
There are tracks with softer qualities too, yet seem to work within you, and others are more outgoing. The only track I am really not a fan of, is ‘Who Do You Love?’ which features Robyn. It sounds like a typical Robyn track and seems out of place on the album, coming across as too much like pop for a Kindness track. It is repetitive and Bainbridge could have done better alone. The beat overthrows her voice, which is quite dull to be honest.
Bringing it back to his normal standard, is ‘8th Wonder’ featuring Manifest. With enjoyable bass and Jazzy horns, this track gives off a sensual and smoky atmosphere, like you’re in a jazz club in Philadelphia with Bainbridge, yet shoots of elsewhere as Manifest makes an appearance. This turns the track to R&B sounds, also referring to Tracy Chapman’s track ‘Fast Car’. There is a good energy to this song which creates a youthful yet soulful sound that the other tracks on the album fail to do. Bass and horns keep it going, with a twinkling sound a minute from the end taking your mind to distant places.
Along with many other tracks on the album, the recurring theme is someone not loving him, which, is slightly repetitive, however, his talent as a musician luckily overrides this. You have to be open minded with this album, which also sets off spiritual tones, especially in ‘Geneva’.
‘It’ll Be Okay’, certainly reassures us that it’s the end of the album and unlike other albums, he doesn’t just add in an uplifting song at the end to make you think you’ve had a good time (‘Friends with Benefits’ reference). I actually did enjoy this album as overall it is a jazzy and sophisticated second album, which sets Bainbridge in good stead within his genre.