Adam Bainbridge, aka Kindness, has been sending out funky (chill)waves on the radar for a few years now. His lavishly packaged debut (12’’ sleeve for the CD) extends what we already know – this guy is a perfectionist and will not be rushed.
As a debut you can’t help but be impressed, especially after the first few tracks have circled into your unconsciousness with their slow-mutating progressions and attentive nature to a scenic form of hazy dance. This is lovely stuff to say the least.
But it’s the funk element I have issues with, and maybe the extremely derivative nod to all things 80s – and I might even compare one track to East 17 (the harmonised, Anita Dobson ballad Anyone Can Fall in Love). So while this guy’s funk is undoubtedly smooth (check Gee Up and Doigsong), it lacks an edge or a sweaty, get-down attitude. This is the 80s that should remain locked up. At least Toro Y Moi went back another decade to the good stuff – and he released it on a separate record. This is like a shoulder-padded mixtape, with a few awkward fillers. That’s Alright, for instance, is like Soul II Soul remixed by Beats International, with a nabbed Sugarhill Gang backbeat.
The standouts are those that nod to the influences, yet maintain the artist’s true voice – Cyan is one such track. Sure it has a taste of disco-funk as the engine, but Bainbridge remains on top with a sweet croon and daydream delivery. It’s lovely. House is indeed house – only half-speed and with a soul injection. It’s another highlight and proof that Kindness is here to stay – which, for someone overloaded with ideas, can only be a good thing.