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Listen To The Lead Single ‘Can Man Conquer It All’



“Like many of their early ’80s UK peers, Maximum Joy mixed punk, funk, disco, and reggae. This new set captures a band carving its own place with two of music’s most powerful tools: muscle and joy…At the nexus of a bunch of different styles, in the shadow of their peers, they struck a spark that still glows.” Pitchfork

Birthed from the seminal 1980s post-punk band Maximum Joy, MXMJoY is the dramatic reimagining by founding members Janine Rainforth and Charlie Llewellin. Their brand new album, ‘p.e.a.c.e.’ is due for a limited edition vinyl release in February 2019 via Janine’s own label, London Field Recordings.

A pivotal point in Bristol’s dub-informed lineage, Pitchfork compared Maximum Joys sound to “one of the Slits backed by the Gang of Four”, while PopMatters said, “Musically, the group’s use of complex percussion, horns, danceable bass lines, and overtly English female vocals built a bridge between the worlds of Afrobeat, reggae, avant-garde jazz, funk and pop”.

Returning with a new line-up and all new material, MXMJoY have crafted an album that remains faithful to their roots but showcases an expanded experimental direction into dark electronics and expertly used samples and effects. An immediately enchanting album, ‘p.e.a.c.e’ also explores lush synthscapes, deep house hooks and a pop sensibility partnered with that unmistakable and bewitching vocal.

The reformation was spearheaded by Rainforth with a show at Simple Things in 2015. Following various solo projects, Her work on solo projects has meant she was able to bring new experience to an old collaboration and she and Llewellin were in the studio immediately after. She tells us “The last album that I worked on with Charlie in Maximum Joy was Station MXJY in 1982! The making of that was an experience in itself – it was made in the ‘traditional’ way if you like – for the most part of it we stayed at a recording studio and jammed and played until we got sounds and tracks we liked. For this new album we worked pretty fast and had the first track down and recorded by December. The autonomy I have found in making my solo music could be brought into how we constructed it.”

The album was then written and recorded with various contributors including and between Rainforth’s Hackney Studio and Llewellin in the US. Joining them on the tracks are prolific bassist Marek Bero, guitarists James Byron and Jono Trott who contributed their own unique sounds, and drummer Miroslav Haldina who brings analogue tones and depth to the records machine beat backing. They also enlisted David McEwen, who’s worked with Janine on her solo project and is long time sound engineer for On-U Sound and Adrian Sherwood’s recordings and Asian Dub Foundation, to work with them on the overall sound.

Across ten masterfully produced tracks you’ll hear an epic amalgamation of their wide scope of influences, and as ever tied up into the unique MXMJoY package. The title track and entrancing ‘Daughters of Tomorrow’ open the album with fittingly trip-hop beats and gloriously catchy choruses while songs like ‘Can Man Conquer It All’ and ‘Ultraviolet’ dwell in darker spaces melodically, with dreamlike washes of keys and delicate guitars. Elsewhere album highlights ‘Archetype’ and ‘We Breathe’ boast some of the strongest songwriting of MXMJoYs career with unforgettable vocal performances and lush electric guitar tones.

Rainforth continues; “As a collective band Maximum Joy and as individuals and now as MXMJoY – we have always shared the drive to evolve and keep looking for and finding new sounds & grooves that inspire, challenge, and maybe even soothe! The musical landscape today is exciting – there’s so much out there – I love all the sounds & textures & voices coming through, and Charlie shares that embracing of the new. The things that informed us then – free jazz; hip-hop; synth pop; disco; soul; funk; reggae; punk; world music – have not changed – but inevitably things have been, and always are being, added to those influences.”