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It was a live performance that made me fall in love with Kindness. He played at Manchester's Soup Kitchen a couple of years back, his lanky figure stalking the stage as three soul singers wooped behind him. Bainbridge seemed sincere, yet the whole ethos of the band was built around fun. It worked. That's not to say that I didn't love 'Gee Up' or 'Swingin Party' by the way, or even the early cuts from World You Need A Change Of Mind - it's just that live, it came together perfectly, whereas on record, it was all that little bit harder to love.

You can understand my determination to keep on hitting play then, when Otherness failed to grab my attention. It was pleasant first few listens, if a little difficult, with influences coming from all over the place. There are obvious touchstones, and things you can't quite put your finger on, and they're all mashed together in this puree of hazy, saxy, dancepop. Fast-forward a week, and I've racked up 50 listens and a strange case of addiction. After spending real time with Otherness, it begins to gel quite phenomenally - the overall aesthetic delivered being one which many similar artists dream of leaving behind.

I'm not entirely sure that 'World Restart' fits as an album opener, though. It has its merits - the supporting vocals, the little hi-hats that roll in after a minute - but the overall feeling is a bit clunky. It feels more like the ending of the previous album as opposed to the starting of a new one. Luckily, 'This is not about us' goes some way to putting it all on the right track. It's much more melancholic, starting with a chord sequence which would fit perfectly into James Blake's repertoire. Vocals bring it in as a super retro '90s cowbell beat drops over the top - one which may be a little heavy handed for some, but feels balanced against the warmth of the pads propping up the rhythm.

Robyn features on fourth track 'Who Do You Love?', a brilliant slice of glacial pop which utilises the singer's ability to switch from introspective ballad to extroverted club chorus in a mere second. It jumps from cold, twinkling arrangement to upbeat handclap over and over. '8th Wonder' continues in the same vein, starting with a relatively downtempo introductory section, then progressing onto something you can move to (a formula that seems to be used throughout). By the time M.anifest comes in with his verse, Blake's influence has once again been called on, with an underlying synth chord sounding remarkably similar to the one used in RZA's verse on 'Take A Fall For Me'. It's at this point that the album arcs tremendously into the memorable though - with the next four tracks increasing in brilliance almost chronologically.

'With You' feels inherently beautiful, starting with a Connan Mockasin type guitar line. The bedroom based lyrics - and their execution - seem close to the FKA Twigs brand, and the pitched vocal sample does little to disrupt the comparison. It's a wonderful, relentless wave of seduction, and there's no shame in sounding a little bit Twigsy. While 'Geneva' goes wholeheartedly scenic, 'For The Young' retains the spacious theme in a different way. Rather than piano climbs and swathes of vocoder, this track keeps everything as simple as possible, relying on a sole sitar lead line which repeats uninterrupted throughout. It's the driest track on the album by some distance - verging on sounding like a demo at times - yet the production beams it forward to being the personal standout of the record for me. As with much of Otherness, the imagery created by the track is its strong point.

The penultimate track sees the much anticipated Dev Hynes feature, along with an appearance from Tawiah. It's a great moment on the album, if being exactly what you'd expect from the collaboration. The Blood Orange frontman's silky fingerprints are to be seen in every element here, yet a little more unexpected is the baseline which appears midway through. When everything seems to have reached height that'll continue through right until the end, this low-end synth line crops up out of seemingly nowhere to take the song somewhere else altogether. It's lovely stuff, and if you (like me) were thinking that Tawiah's vocals were maybe not as successful as the other female collaborators on the record in the first half, get ready for a huge helping of hot humble pie when she belts out the high notes towards the end. In an instance of greed and having gotten too much too early, the final track fails to reach the peaks of the previous four tracks. It's not bad by any means, but like the opener, it feels a little light compared to the rest.

There's an abundance of feelings created in the listener from this album when played in full. Whilst the production stands out as being meticulous - nigh on faultless - the overall sheen doesn't stem the idea that it all feels like 'doing' music. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, it just never feels like something you want to fall directly into. There's little relaxation on the record, yet that's countered by the sheer amount of fun to be had when all of the components are allowed to air around the place. The strangest part is that these things feel like they have been structured to do exactly that. It feels as if the valleys of reverberating keys have been placed ever so slightly to the right of the thudding drum pads purposely to keep you guessing, and that, in essence, feels like something Kindness actively invests a lot of time into. Maybe I'm looking into it too much, but I believe that whilst his music could be taken on face value as post-blissed-out-pre-09-dream-poppery, there's much more construction beneath. Unloveable at times and adorable at others; fun has rarely sounded so ambitious.

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