World, You Need a Change of Mind
May 08, 2012 Web Exclusive
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 sound may be a nod to the past, but this is no tongue-in-cheek trip down memory lane. Even detractors (and with an album this stylized there are sure to be a few) will not be able to touch his dead-serious commitment to the role of retro-tastic bandleader. Take tune "Bombastic," where over a lounge-worthy beat Bainbridge non-ironically name-checks influences, including "Michael Jackson, Michael McDonald, Marvin Gaye," in a detached drone. Bainbridge's blatant attempt to align himself with the greats not lighting your fire? Run now.
For the rest of us who don't mind getting our groove on to music served with a side of narcissism, it's not difficult to admit Bainbridge might be onto something. From a downtempo version of The Replacements' "Swingin' Party" to the chorus of "Gee Up," where he commands "Get up, get down" over a foot-moving bass line, there's a high level of sophistication at work. It's spearheaded by a polish that assures us that even when he dives a bit too obviously into the well of his influences (see 1970s/early 1980s regurgitation "That's Alright"), it's not without a sense of fun—even if any sense of self-awareness has been checked at the door. (www.myspace.com/kindnesses)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 9/10