The man behind Kindness, one English/German Adam Bainbridge, may utilize a few lo-fi effects and productions on his debut record, but only a lazy critic would categorize him alongside the likes of Washed Out. Although it would be easy to make the mistake of categorizing Bainbridge’s music as “chillwave”, listening to World, You Need a Change of Mind makes it clear he has little desire to chill. The record in fact sounds like it’s 4AM, and Bainbridge is trying to party, but he’s so intoxicated he’s not sure what party he’s at, and at times things get a little hazy.
One record that World, You Need a Change of Mind can be compared to in part is Toro Y Moi’s superior sophomore effort Underneath the Pine. Both records are psychedelic and unusual and both records are influenced by 70s disco and funk. However, whilst Underneath the Pine was often a difficult listen, especially in comparison to his warm, easy-on-the-ears debut, World, You Need A Change of Mind is much more interested in having fun. Lengthy opener “SEOD” stumbles into a groove, as if it passed out from too much excess the night before, but soon settles into early 80s electro pop, reminiscent of Soft Cell, before descending unexpectedly into woozy jazz. The distracted disco of single “Swingin’ Party” follows, which sounds as if it’s still drunk. It might sound a bit lo-fi, but this is definitely not high-brow stuff.
Lyrically, you won’t find anything very deep here, throwaway odes to love and partying, but anyone listening to this record for something deep and meaningful is seriously missing the point. World, You Need a Change of Mind doesn’t take itself too seriously for one thing, proven early on by the schmaltzy, souled up and severely tongue-in-cheek cover of the Eastenders‘ theme, “Anyone Can Fall in Love”. Following this comes “Gee Up (Intro)” a three-minute soundcheck-esque intro to a song half the length of it’s own intro, but the brief “Gee Up” is anything but an anticlimax, pulling the album surely from it’s early hungover mire and getting its 70s disco shoes on, with jangly guitars and busy, shuffling drums oozing era-authentic funk. It gets even better later on, with “That’s Alright”, which is unashamedly full-on ’80s new jack swing, full of oppressive, clunky bass lines, huge snares, huge harmonies and overconfident synths.
It’s actually never quite clear what type of audience the album is trying to reach, but the whole thing seems a lot more cohesive when you realise there is no point, and no direction, and this makes World, You Need a Change of Mind a lot more fun. It’s an album full of twists and turns, seemingly whenever Bainbridge gets bored of one sound.
The second half of the album begins with highlight “House”, which begins subtly before turning up the dial and turning into a irresistibly woozy house anthem, which is probably the meaning behind the song’s title. That song leads into the morose opening jazzy brass intro of “It‘s Alright” before that track unexpectedly takes off. Then, as soon as we get into this groove, suddenly we‘re taken back to comedown disco, a la “Swingin‘ Party”, with the lovely “Cyan” and then down to “Bombastic”, which has an eerie, jaunty shuffle, like a jazz band playing in the corner of the Addams Family restaurant, lifted occasionally by Bainbridge’s smooth, contented vocal.
Closer “Doig Song” returns to the energetic disco of “Gee Up”, before walls of ambient synth envelop it entirely, a fitting summary of the album as a whole. The album cover suggests a dark, pretentious record, whilst the title World, You Need a Change of Mind suggests the record has a message. Both of these impressions are misgivings, and although this party might be at about four different locations over the course of the record, one thing that’s for sure is that every party Kindness plays at is a swingin’ one.