Published Oct 10, 2014Who is Adam Bainbridge? For a guy who's front and centre on the cover of both of his albums, Bainbridge, under the producer pseudonym Kindness, remains an elusive figure, hiding right in the open. His 2012 debut, World, You Need a Change of Mind presented the London-based musician as a musical prodigy sitting at the nexus of '80s dance, '90s R&B and '00s indie. But in 2014, that confluence of influences feels less like musical identity than the sound du jour.
Although it can't quite manage to overcome this hurdle, Otherness, his superior followup, continues Bainbridge's sonic journey nicely. More expansive than its predecessor, it's filled with hidden subtleties that reveal themselves on repeat listens. Half of its ten tracks pair the producer with likeminded artists, including Blood Orange's Dev Hynes, Kelela and Robyn. The results reveal Bainbridge to be as capable a collaborator as he is a solo artist, playing to his more famous friends' musical strengths without giving the project over to their idiosyncratic talents.
Bainbridge knows how to stamp songs with his own sonic signature — witness the horn blasts on opener "World Restart" or the stop-start funk lines behind Robyn on "Who Do You Love?" — but he's yet to find his voice as a singer and lyricist. The songs on Otherness rely on established lyrical tropes (love and relationships), while his productions shatter them.
That's a shame, because Otherness has the potential to be a great album. Unfortunately, Bainbridge fails to bring anything new to the table emotionally. As it stands, it's a very good record that builds on and expands the musical ideas presented on his debut. (Female Energy/Mom Pop)