Producer, songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist MAX RAD shares his stunning debut album Joy Wonder.
A collection of 9 swelling, musically rich, overtly experimental and always bright an melodic electronic soundscapes which move between IDM instrumentals and others which feature his own silky vocal tones, MAX demonstrates his unwavering musicality and an ability to craft entrancing, beguiling art-forms.
At times the album leans towards delivering emotionally impactful moments, like on the moody Lapalux-esque ‘Moonshine’ and the slow, funky yet melancholic ‘Hold Fire’, both of which which show the subtlety both with poetic lyricism and nuanced, boxy vocals. At others, the emphatic, euphoric nature of MAX’s musicality, such as the bopping opener ‘Let Me Think About It’ with it’s shuffling beats, modulated synth lines, layers of subtle sampling and cinematic atmospherics or the Jungle-esque bop ‘Blud Sugar’.
Above all else, what shines across the album is MAX RAD’s ear for sounds, like jumping into a pool of analogue synths and crunching beats. I remember the first time I went on a long car journey listening to Jamie XX’s 2015 album ‘In Colour’, floating through highs and lows and with a sense of serenity, a hazy cathartic euphoria. ‘Joy Wonder’ captures this very same wondrous, otherworldly nature – sonically managing to deliver intriguing musical depth, awe-insipiring sampling, beautiful synth work and spotless production.
At times evoking Bonobo and John Hopkins, at others evoking more R&B and funk influences and leaning towards more conventional songwriting, this album gives a look at the full width of MAX RAD’s abilities all whilst staying within the confines of the album’s mood and tone. It’s a brilliant album full of depth and musicality.