Kindness - Otherness - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Kindness - Otherness

by Justin Pearson Rating:6.5 Release Date:2014-10-13

On British singer Adam Bainbridge's second album under the moniker of Kindness, Otherness, things sort of happen as they happen. His debut album, World, You Need a Change of Mind, seemed to be more concerned with a tight, predictable structure, as if he was out to prove something. With this album you get the sense he's not trying to impress anyone, and it works in his favor for the most part.

There's an openness that lends itself pretty consistently throughout, with an extremely laid-back and relaxed vibe that says "whatever". This attitude is right at home with the sprinkles of jazz, funk and R&B that can be felt on almost every song.

The stop-start saxaphones along with guest vocalists Kelela and Ade make 'World Restart' a perfect lead for a record that wants you to feel that it's "turned the page" and "began again". There's a happiness all over this one that's super-infectious.

'Who Do You Love' featuring Robyn has a fun, freestyle vibe that evokes a hot summer day with kids in the street playing with sprinklers. While she sings "Out there lookin for meaning/ something good to believe in", you can't help but get caught up in the optimism the song's trying to convey.

Guest vocalist Kelela gives 'With You' a soft, jazzy soul to compliment the romance of the track. The song is lazy, but not in the pejorative sense. It's the kind of laziness that occupies a high-rise apartment complete with candles and city lights blinking outside the window.

One of the most interesting moments on the album is 'For the Young', with its odd juxtaposition of off-key, minor guitar chords accompanied by metronome-like percussion. There's an immediate instinct to recoil from it, but once you understand the rhythm of the whole thing, the way the smooth vocals wash over it, there's a sense relaxation like coconuts and grass skirts you might experience in a waking dream about Hawaii.

You can tell Bainbridge isn't making a definitive statement with this album, that's obvious. It's both a downfall and a strength, though. Where his lack of inspiration can really be felt is on the last two songs. They both feel like an afterthought, even on an album as loose as this one.

You'd think a track featuring Devonte Hynes of Blood Orange fame would surely be one of the standouts here, but it's not. 'Why Don't You Love Me' feels completely uninspired. While this lack of direction works elsewhere on the album, it fails here.

'It'll Be Ok' doesn't help things either. There's nothing memorable at all, especially with a sentiment that doesn't match up with the music that's accompanying it. "If I was to be your only friend... You need someone like me/ You can depend on me" would be fitting in any other song about relationships, but here the melody is tired and clearly ready for bed.

It's hard not to admire the uncaringness of Otherness, as any artist should focus on their own vision and not what sells. Having said that, there's still a slight something to be desired when looked at as a whole album. Considering this, it's fair to say what we have here isn't a great or solid work, but surely it's a decent one.

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