Kindness is the stage name of Adam Bainbridge, a young, way too cool looking former photography student from Peterborough, UK. We wouldn't be surprised if he were invited to model for Hedi Slimane, but for now, he's dedicated solely to his music, and doing a pretty good job, too. He rose to fame in 2009 with a rendition of The Replacements' “Swingin Party” (which, let it be said, had little to do with The Mats' punk). It drew the attention of some people, but soon disappeared into oblivion. The boy, however, didn't throw in the towel, and after the summer of 2011 he returned with “Cyan”, a piece of infectious disco music. It sounded promising, and eventually he got Female Energy, a subsidiary of Polydor, to release his debut album: “World, You Need A Change Of Mind”.
He's often been compared to Arthur Russell (because of the way he sings and his avant-garde way of looking at disco), but he's actually closer to Prince. “That’s Alright” is a splendid piece of nocturnal moods (check out the sax at the start, aiming to conjure up all the dancing souls); a kind of funk that swears eternal loyalty to the Minneapolis Purple One. “Doigsong”, an irresistible 21st century disco tune, could easily be released on DFA – it does not go unnoticed that the LP is co-produced by Philippe Zdar, who makes sure you won't stop shaking for a second. With these tracks, Kindness proves he knows his way around hedonistic music, but he's also at ease with other genres. “Bombastic” has two things going for it: it has that Ariel Pink kind of ethereal pop, but at the same time he name checks influences from some key artists who left their mark on the young man - Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Kate Bush and Nile Rodgers (the guitar on “Gee Up” seems borrowed from the Chic wizard). It’s an interesting declaration of intent. Bainbridge manages the mid-tempos well, too. The slowly cooked synth-pop of “Swingin Party” fits right in here, even though it's three years old, and the pop of “House” is dazzling with a simple yet effective piano and deafening percussion.
Obviously, it's not all wine and roses. Kindness isn't the new God of disco-funk the PR machine wants to make us believe. The R&B of “Anyone Can Fall In Love” becomes boring quite rapidly, and “Gee Wiz” aspires at transcendence, but gets stuck in limbo. Which only goes to prove that Bainbridge doesn't always get his way; he has a lot to learn, doing better when he just goes straight for the dance-floor. Nevertheless, “World, You Need A Change Of Mind” does the job as a tribute to leftfield New York disco, and there's a couple of songs here the young people will include on their playlists for their summer parties. It wouldn't be fair to ask for too much more.