Kindness’s new album Otherness is pure angsty funk. If the sentimental track titles are anything to go by, he has clearly had a lot on his mind; ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’, ‘Who Do You Love?’ and ‘This Is Not About Us’ would all seem more at home on the back of a boy band’s first album. However, search ‘This Is Not About Us’ on YouTube and you can see Kindness, A.K.A Adam Bainbridge, happily grooving away next to a backing dancer.
Despite having glum undertones, Kindness’ new album does have a slow, steady groove to it – a glum groove – which is a move away from the slightly more plodding, indie synth sound of his last album, (which features an excellent cover of the Replacements’ ‘Swingin Party’). Otherness also seems to have a lot of soul and R&B influences, which makes a nice change for the indie-electro producer, moving him firmly into the pop genre.
Several tracks on Otherness feature guest vocalists, the aforementioned ‘Why Don’t You Love Me?’ features Dev Hynes (of Lightspeed Champion fame), whilst ‘Who Do You Love?’ sees Robyn give a performance of dubious standard. There is also Kelela and Ade who feature on the single ‘World Restart’. This is the best track on the album, the crooning vocals making it soulful and easy listening, with the male vocalist sounding like a member of Fat Freddy’s Drop. The thing is, these vocalists sort of take the shine off of Kindness’s own restrained, simple vocals – meaning the tracks featuring him alone seem a bit bland in comparison. The combination of this restraint, the morose lyrics, and the ambling pace, make an album that is low impact and not hugely memorable, despite being easy on the ear.