Brighton-via-Oxford singer-songwriter Max Levy has become a bit of a household name in a select circle, a group of musicians that have time and again released compelling music that willingly dwells in mellow fuzz and absorbing tales. Levy’s independent label, Reeks of Effort, has given him the opportunity to release his friend’s music as well his own, creating said community of engrossing, noisy and compassionate bands including Joanna Gruesome, Trust Fund, Tyrannosaurus Dead, Poledo, Joey Fourr, Playlounge and various others. The next release on the label is his own, under his moniker King of Cats.
The second release to come from Art Reeks (the joint venture of Levy’s ROE and Art Is Hard), the record is titled ‘Working Out‘, and is out on 29th September. The first track to come from the new album is ‘Dead Lamb‘, another dose of lo-fi nervousness that the prolific songwriter has been excelling at since first uploading tracks three years previously.
Alike to label-member Ellis Jones‘ Trust Fund, Levy plays with a combination of bare hooks, distorted chords and a hint of eccentricity, elevated in his sharp yet vulnerable vocal and melancholic minor formation. ‘Dead Lamb’ prospers in it’s pensiveness, Levy’s vocals wretched till collapse and leaving no emotion hidden, angular melody and twisted rhythm developing a bruised spine that’s calling for an escape route.
What’s most satisfying is the production that allows all the sentiment to ring clear; Levy’s lines are fundamental and take centre, while every strum is allowed to breathe in it’s noisiness, intensifying the feeling of discomfort from each progression and crack in Levy’s vocal.
The introspective nature of his songwriting and preoccupation with self-confidence makes for poignant listening, ‘Working Out’ may not be a comfortable listen, but a passionate one that displays some quality creativeness none the less. Max Levy’s a voice to be heard in the current landscape of DIY music.