Kindness (Adam Bainbridge): ‘World, You need a change of mind’

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In an ideal world, this bio would be about two lines long. Ninety-five per cent of everything you should want to know about a new artist should be in the record.   ~Adam Bainbridge (Kindness)

Kindness – World, You Need a Change of Mind

Kindness is the solo project of British singer and musician Adam Bainbridge. He released his first single, a cover of  The Replacements’  “Swingin’ Party” in August 2009.  Kindness’ debut album, ‘World, You Need a Change of Mind’ was co-produced, recorded and mixed with the Grammy Award winning Phillipe Zdar (Cassius / Cut Copy / Phoenix / The Rapture / Kanye West) at Zdar’s studio in Paris and was released through Modular on March 23.  He has performed at South by Southwest  and Latitude Festival.

Kindness’ recorded work bears the fingerprints of no specific scene, no particular country, no certain era. It’s pop music but it’s slippery and enigmatic, sounds slick yet underground.  The New York Times  calls his music “moody and sexy”.

Touted by NME as the next big thing, his sound has recognizable reference points. From the leftfield disco of Walter Gibbons, the cosmopolitan rhythms of Grace Jones and Tom Tom Club, to the frictionless 80s R&B of Alexander O’Neal, all swirled around with the blurry Polaroid pop of Ariel Pink.

The emergence of indie dance music is the most recent step in a long progression of reconciliation between generally divergent worlds. Largely, indie scenes have flirted with dance music as a byproduct of, or in mixtures with, rock — take the post-punk/dance-punk revival of a decade ago. By design or not, they’ve been sonically segregated, and any engagement by the indie rock world with dance-floor culture has felt almost apologetic.

“Hive Mind” is an impressive achievement, fluent in a range of dance styles: Ital nails spacey techno on “Floridian Void,” and broken-down house music on “Israel.” You get the sense that in Britain, an album like this would get far more attention.

That’s why the Kindness album is potentially even more radical, even though it’s more pop-friendly. Kindness — born Adam Bainbridge — arrives at the same musical solution as Ital, but from a different direction. His album was produced with Philippe Zdar, of Cassius, the king-size French disco nostalgists. For the album, all the songs — both those Kindness released independently, and also the new ones — were rerecorded with Mr. Zdar’s assistance.

The album’s high point is “Cyan,” which is elegiacally pretty and slinky smooth. Kindness sings wistfully and woozily and beneath him the music is moving purposefully, with robust snares and hazy synthesizers. It is thoughtful disco homage, replacing only the genre’s high gloss with a layer of D.I.Y. indifference.

But even though the Kindness album feels deliberately small, it fits neatly with the broader tides of British pop. It’s at home alongside the streak of gothic electro-pop now coursing through British music, bubbling up from below, and it intersects cleanly with the longstanding heavy presence of dance music — the tackier sort, but still — on the British charts.

Adam Bainbridge lives and works in London.

Watch: Kindness – House
Be prepared for an onslaught of slinky smooth, wistful and woozy sounds as he hits the road with label-mates Tom Vek and Jonathan Boulet. In the meantime, get to know Kindness a little more with this video directed by Partizan’s Dan Brereton.

World, You Need a Change of Mind – Album tracks
01. SEOD
02. Swingin Party
03. Anyone Can Fall In Love
04. Gee Wiz
05. Gee Up
06. House
07. That’s Alright
08. Cyan
09. Bombastic
10. Doigsong

Studio albums

  • World, You Need a Change of Mind (16 March 2012)

Singles

  • Swingin’ Party (28 September 2009)
  • Cyan (26 October 2011)
  • SEOD (8 February 2012)
  • Gee Up (16 March 2012)
  • House (15 June 2012)
  • That’s Alright (21 September 2012)

Videos

Song Directed by Date
Gee Up Jack Latham 2009
Cyan Ben Fries 2011
Gee Up Adam Bainbridge 2012
House Daniel Brereton & Adam Bainbridge 2012
That’s Alright Adam Bainbridge 2012

Sources: YouTube, Wikipedia, Google (photos), New York Times