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Kindness
World, You Need A Change Of Mind Emily Mackay , March 23rd, 2012 11:11

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If Adam Bainbridge's thinking behind waiting two-and-a-half years after we all thought his 'Swingin Party' was quite nice to release his debut album was to let the crest of chillwave pass, it was not a good plan.

Whereas at the height of what in retrospect looks a bit like one of the most half-arsed genres ever to have kind-of existed he'd have seemed among the best of the bunch, to sell us on hazy, lazy dance-funk with a haunting air of sadness now that we're all fed up to the back teeth with lesser practitioners means he'd have to have something very solid up his sleeve. And while World, You Need A Change Of Mind is pleasing in places, solid it certainly ain't.

It's a pervasive air of listlessness that's the problem here. A problem that going around referencing things like Grace Jones is only going to throw into sharper relief. If, as Bainbridge does on 'Gee Up', you're going to sing a historied phrase like “get up, get down”, you need to do it with some conviction. The studied absence in Bainbridge's voice doesn't add any extra meaning; it just sounds gormless. “Let the music become part of you... When we dance we are all the same...” he notes absentmindedly on 'SEOD', and 'House''s piano stabs are more pokes, generating about enough impetus to raise an arm from sofa to ashtray to retrieve a spliff, but not enough to actually get on your feet and dance.

There are moments of pale beauty, but too often the effect is just dreary, dance music that begs for analysis rather than release. I'd rather just strip off the extraneous layer of existential ennui like the flimsy plastic on a touchscreen that stops you pawing it too hard with your sweaty fingers. I'd rather just listen to Friendly Fires, really. The sweet melody of that aforementioned cover of The Replacements' 'Swingin Party' is still a high point, but 'That's Alright' is probably most successful, casting itself as a sort of 'Diamonds And Pearls' reject in which a female singer carries the track, with distorted, deep exclamations of 'The beat is bad!”. Though it's still a pastiche, the unabashed love of its influences is infectious and the absence of Bainbridge's wishy-washy tones is a blessing.

'Bombastic', on the other hand, with its cymbal-driven cruise-jazz and sinister spoken word comes off like a David Lynch pisstake with its moodily intoned list of musical icons such as Kate Bush, Nile Rodgers and Larry Levan. The worst offender, though, is the knuckle-gnawingly excruciating cover of Anita Dobson's 'Anyone Can Fall In Love', aka the Eastenders theme tune. Beyond the try-hard choice of material, the execution is irritatingly mannered, with a parping bassline and a Hall & Oates slowjam vibe. Whereas Gayngs could take those sort of references and make them genuinely, lushly, sexy, Kindness just sounds wan. “How do you keep the music from dying?” asks his female duetter, aptly. Nurse! The defibrillators!

Some fine moments then, and nicely put together by Bainbridge and Philippe Zdar of Cassius, but too often World, You Need A Change Of Mind lacks the force of its title, music that just doesn't sound sure what it's trying to do beyond an exercise in genre acccessorising.