News, Reviews

Max Jury & Fenne Lily Team Up For ‘The Desperate Kingdom of Love,’ Out Now via Marathon Artists

April 4, 2021





Des Moines, Iowa singer-songwriter Max Jury returns, teaming up with Bristol indie-darling Fenne Lily for his latest offering, a cover of PJ Harvey’s The Desperate Kingdom of Love’. The track is accompanied by an animated visualiser illustrating Max and Fenne, which was conceptualised by Dutch artist Ellis van der Does. The track sets in motion an ambitious year for Max, which will see him releasing music in phases, culminating in a larger body of work. Across the coming months, he will release the first collection of songs, entitled The Shade and The Grass, out in full on the 16th of June via Marathon Artists

This deeply emotive rendition will win you over, the collaboration on this cover is simply sublime. Sweet tender vocal harmonies colliding in this fragile ensemble. The new release will move you, the atmosphere is heavenly and the artists both know how to add such delicate textures to their work. The soft notes against the immersive instrumentation provide this ethereal atmosphere.

Max has reimagined the ‘The Desperate Kingdom of Love’ as a duet, feeling that Fenne Lily was the perfect companion to help capture the song in the way he envisioned, whilst staying true to its core elements. He reflects, “I love Polly Harvey as an artist, and I always have. For whatever reason, she’s always really resonated with me. And that song in particular I’ve always just loved so much. I thought it would be good to do it as a duet, to add a new element – the way she sings it, it feels like a story with two sides almost. Fenne Lily was keen to hop on, so I was flattered and grateful that she was down to do it. I love the breathiness and softness of her voice, and it was a great fit on this song. Recording it was very much a quarantine vibe, her in her place, me in mine. But PJ’s original was a home recording, so it felt right to not make it sound too clean.”

Fenne adds, “I used to listen to Max’s early stuff on my bus ride to school, the same school PJ went to, so this felt like a sweet collision of worlds. Thank you to the queen for writing the perfect song, and to Max for wanting my voice.”

In 2015, Max had set out for London, aged only 18, to tap into the early buzz around the demos he’d made while studying in Boston. After signing with Marathon Artists in the UK, Max released his self-titled debut album the following year to wide critical acclaim before heading out on his first tour alongside a full band. Their opening show saw them support Lana Del Rey in Chicago which eventually led to an invitation to join Del Rey for further dates on her world tour, as well as a run of shows supporting Rufus Wainwright across the UK. For his second album, 2019’s Modern World, Max decamped to Los Angeles to work with the Grammy-adjacent talent Robin Hannibal (Little Dragon, Kendrick Lamar), before moving to Paris for six months. 

Max’s expansive sense of place has always fed strongly into his identity as a footloose songwriter and troubadour, as well as into his sound. He notes, “I definitely have followed the music, wherever it’s been, in my life and my music. Growing up in Des Moines, the information I was receiving in terms of new bands was maybe limited. I heard my parents’ records, which was old soul and old country, your James Taylors and your Bob Dylans. But I wanted to be part of different music scenes and opportunities. And London did that for me. It opened me up to how much I needed to learn, and could learn. I worked with a bunch of different songwriters, and it sharpened my abilities – and maybe in some subconscious way, made me have more of a British sensibility.”

But like the rest of us this past year, the singer-songwriter has had no option but to curb his wanderlust and kick his heels. Hunkering down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, working out of a studio run by an old friend next to his old friend’s parents’ house, with, mainly, just that old friend, Stacey Harden, for company. Max relished in the sense of simplicity and groundedness which lockdown inevitably caused,  allowing him to take a more intimate and hands-on approach to his process. He reflects,“When you’re always in motion and always chasing whatever the label wants you to do, or whatever goals you have, it’s hard to have time to actually stop, and learn, and grow, and get better. Which I really wanted to do. This whole time has been useful: it’s given me time to sit tight and focus.” The result is a collection which sees Max lay his desires bare.  Self-producing and self-engineering with Stacey, Max was playing guitars and keyboards, “and whatever synth stuff is going on” with Stacey on drums and bass. “We got Fryars in London to do some percussion work,” Jury explains, “then got some people to sing on it if they wanted to. So all told it does feel very DIY this time round, which I’m enjoying very much.”

However life after lockdown looks, Jury is energised by the prospect of releasing new music this year – something he plans to do on his own terms and in his own way. The Desperate Kingdom of Love’ is the first of many gifts that Max will grace us with in 2021, allowing listeners to dive into a spellbinding treasure trove of what he feels will be his most honest offering to date.

Listen to ‘The Desperate Kingdom of Love’ here:

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