Friday, 13 April 2012

World, You Need A Change Of Mind

Artist: Kindness
Album: World, You Need A Change Of Mind
Release Date: 19/3/2012

After 3 years of waiting, Adam Bainbridge delivers a tome of pop tunes both fun and endlessly thoughtful

Releasing a cover as your debut single is both a bold and arguably stupid move. Even more incomprehensible is then waiting three years to follow it up. Such were the actions of Cambridge resident Adam Bainbridge, the mastermind behind Kindness, and they undoubtedly paid off for him. His cover of The Replacements' "Swingin' Party" with its driving beat and barely- there electronic bubble was such an ambitious rendition of the song that most people had to be forgiven for not knowing that it was cover. It has taken Bainbridge three years to record and release his debut full- length "World, You Need A Change of Mind", and although it has recieved a limited amount of initial interest, it's an album tuned to set the dial of "exceed expectations".

It's a tangible but uneccesary point to say that Bainbridge is late to the '80s throwback party, as he could be seen to be tiresomely so. Thanks to the chillwave brigade '80s synth pop has been transformed from what was initially an unwelcome revival to something that has captured hearts, minds and souls, despite pattering out the back door of favour in 2011. To lump "World, You Need A..." with the now dead- end chillwave lot would be a foolish move however. Quite like Chairlift's "Something" earlier this year, this record is a confident acknowledgment of its influences and an undeniable sum of its parts, but it deals in great levels of depth, intricacy and fun. "Intelligent stupidity" could, possibly, be a fair two- word summary, but that doesn't come anywhere near to the mark in reality. Like the best '80s pop records, it scratches beneath the surface and pays remarkable attention to detail.

"SEOD" opens like the soundtrack to a cheesy American early- evening soap with layers of synth mutation. It then stretches out into an extensive sigh of both whispy and textured synths, before embarking on a quest fueled by stabbing Italo- House piano chords and the bustle of electronic brass. "Cyan" is a spacious Arthur Russell- esque jolt whose synths are both fluid and comforting throughout, flexible but always a constant. Bainbridge unlocks certain idiosyncracies here, as his vocals seem to float in from far away, like he's singing from some distant, undiscovered haven. "House" is a soft and smooth half- ballad more indebted to George Michael records than Talking Heads, but it's affecting and strong at the knees all the same.

Closer to the more fun end of the spectrum (although just as intelligent) is "Gee Up", a criminally short but infuriatingly intricate exercise in white boy funk. Meanwhile "That's Alright" looms as a hulking guilty pleasure. Like the bastard child of Sugarhill Gang and Prince, everything is maxed out, from the pounding drums to the crunching, funky bassline to the hilariously cringeworthy vocal samples of "the beat is BAD!"

Bainbridge has explored song- structure to the extent that it's the most focal point of "World, You Need A Change Of Mind." As much as these songs are catchy and fun, it's more often that their depth and underlying components are the most mesmerising things about them. "Swingin' Party" may have hinted at the potential he has for transformation and craft, but "World..." sees him realize that potential almost fully, making it a pop record to enjoy on every level.

Download: 1) SEOD, 2) Cyan, 3) House
For Fans Of: Prince, Arthur Russell, Ariel Pink

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