Kindness: Something Like a War
“Said it once/ Said it twice/ It bears repeating, but you can’t trust/ People come, people go/ But only some will try to steal your glow.” Those are the first words of the first track on Something Like a War , the third album from British singer/producer Adam Bainbridge, a.k.a. Kindness. Sure enough, throughout this record of deeply funky alt-pop, gospelhouse, and majestic, thumping R&B, Bainbridge takes that challenge, and emerges on the other side an absolute pop innovator. These 13 tracks have all the emotional, soaring highs and down-and-dirty lows of an epic night out dancing that doesn’t end until daylight breaks. Over the past few years, Bainbridge has quietly built a veritable army of collaborators and supporters, working with Solange, Blood Orange, Robyn and more, and the latter shows up here alongside artists like Kindness Jazmine Sullivan, Jazmine Seinabo Sey and Cosima. Kindness is the coolest kid in the club, hanging in the shadows. The production on Something is breathtaking—crisp percussion mixes with pulsing house beats, synths, liquid basslines, live pianos and guitars twirl around each other, plaintive strings climb like ivy—and the whole thing has a soft glow. But none of that would matter without the songs: Bainbridge crafts deeply infectious pop tunes, with soul-melting choruses and goosebump-worthy melodies. On the gorgeous, quivering slow-dance of the Robyn-assisted “The Warning,” the Swedish icon sounds near tears, singing, “You’re like a mountain/ A silent paradise just for me.” Something Like a War has a similar effect; it seems to crack the sky, but with songs you’ll want to keep all to yourself.