warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

'Otherness' By Kindness: Album Review

Sivani |
October 15, 2014 | 11:19 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Album cover of "Otherness" (Twitter/@Kindness)
Album cover of "Otherness" (Twitter/@Kindness)

Kindness is the funk/soul, pop-inspired project of British singer/producer Adam Bainbridge. His funky, danceable debut “World, You Need A Change Of Mind” was an amalgam of various homages to the past, and largely a solo musical expedition by Bainbridge. With his new second album “Otherness,” Kindness brings in a host of guest artists to grace this altogether more slow, focused, R&B-esque experience. Interestingly, it is through this comprehensive collaboration that Kindness manages to hone in closer on his own, distinct sound.  

The more restful pace of this sophomore effort really allows the listener to appreciate the quality of production. The thoughtful percussion, the retro-sounding synths, the moody horns - and the vocals of artists such as Kelela, Robyn, M.anifest and Devonte Hynes (AKA Blood Orange) – all melt together perfectly to create an intimate space wherein Kindness expounds on affairs of the heart.

The album begins with the singles “World Restart” and “This Is Not About Us.” The first, featuring Kelela, is a funktastic tune reminiscent of the track “That’s Alright” on the debut, and the second is a more somber number that puts Kindness’ vocals center stage, layered onto garage-sounding percussion and subdued piano flourishes.

“I’ll Be Back” strips down even further. One of the standout tracks on the album for its beautiful simplicity, it showcases a strong songwriting aesthetic that continues throughout the album. “Who Do You Love,” featuring the Swedish artist Robyn, carries on in this vein of lamenting R&B confessionalism. This is followed by “8th Wonder,” the most structurally remarkable track on “Otherness” – moving from the synth-washed piano ballad section sung by Kindness himself into foreign rapped verses by M.anifest, the track closes on sparkling mandolin runs and light-as-a-feather percussion. Undoubtedly one of the best tracks on the album.

“With You” brings back Kelela for more soulful vocals, laced between bursts of horn and an edgy bass line. Then comes “Geneva,” a sudden, heavenly departure from the heavy-percussion laden tracks before it. The chorused vocals, the piano and the gentle, persistent bass make this track a welcome (if slightly bland) segue way into the final section of the album.

“For The Young,” inspired by a sample from Herbie Hancock tune “Moon/Light,” is a beautiful foray into folk by Kindness, marked by its distinctive mandolin riff that repeats throughout the song. The track that follows, “Why Don’t You Love Me,” returns to the familiar R&B feel of the album’s earlier section, featuring both female and male guest vocals from Tawiah and Devonte Hynes, respectively. And finally, the album closer, “It’ll Be Ok,” gives us just the voice of the man behind Kindness once again, in a lyric-and-synth-heavy six minute outro to “Otherness.”

With “Otherness,” Kindness sucks you into a soul-infused emotional space that is much more minimal, cohesive and confessional in its design than his debut – and is all the more impressive for it. This is definitely a producer you should be listening out for in the future. 

"Otherness" is available for purchase on iTunes

Reach Staff Reporter Sivani here



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.