Kindness: Something Like a War (Female Energy) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Kindness

Something Like a War

Female Energy

Sep 10, 2019 Web Exclusive
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"I just want to cry everything" is the rallying call of Adam Bainbridge's gorgeous third record as Kindness—which argues for tears as a defiant show of strength rather than surrender. 

Three years ago, Bainbridge was close to quitting music after becoming increasingly disillusioned with the politics of the industry. Yet Something Like a War finds Kindness in a surprisingly combative mood underneath its elegant exterior. The sounds across its guest-heavy 13 tracks—which draw from stylish modern soul and subdued dance music—may be graceful, but this is fighting music, in the sense that unguarded openness and vulnerability can be radical propositions.

The spirit of protest shines brightly on the disco-house swing of "Raise Up" that lays out Kindness' manifesto ("Build your people/Make them equal/Raise up your different ones") and the formidable mid-tempo funk of "Hard to Believe"—led by a roaring vocal take from Jazmine Sullivan. Defiance is abound elsewhere too, on the fight-for-this-love anthem "Lost Without" and a stunningly bare performance from Robyn on "The Warning."

Bainbridge has amassed a talented group of contributors over their 10 years as Kindness and they smartly employ old favorites—Robyn and Kelela return—with new additions, such as British soul singer Cosima and rapper Bahamadia. Together, they create a cohesive sound that is equally indebted to sophisti-pop, '90s R&B, and deep house.

The tasteful gloss of Something Like a War may be off-putting for some listeners, who may view its composure as aloofness or feel distance where there is intended warmth. But there is a deep well of heart underneath this album's cool surface. Early on, over a fleet-footed Afrobeat groove, Kindness pledges to use "Softness as a Weapon." If you allow this record's gentle textures to seep under your skin, you may find they wield it well. (www.kindness.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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