Max Jury is one of those guys who just so happens to be annoyingly talented. Having grown up in the Midwestern heartland of Des Moines, Iowa where, other than masked metal-merchants Slipknot, there’s precious little musical action to speak of. He taught himself his craft on a steady diet of The Beatles, Wilco and Tom Waits and this 21 year old conjures up moments of all three and countless more on this month’s debut 3-track EP Something In The Air.
It’s a lean little collection but serves as a pretty good cross section of Jury’s natural flair as a songwriter and one who definitely belies his years. Kicking off with the gorgeous dark piano and hushed alt-country overtones of single Christian Eyes, it sounds like a beautiful B-side from Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or Elliott Smith’s timeless XO. It’s kind of hard to look at Something In The Air as an EP as a mere 3 tracks, while being able to give you a gauge of an artist’s skillset make it neither definitive enough to be a single or complete enough to be considered a strong debut.
This being said, the lovely lilting harmonies and muted mariachi trumpet on second track Crooked Time are delivered with just the right amount of melancholy and give the track an air of someone like Beck or Ryan Adams at their saddest. Closing out with the unabashedly Nashville country title track, a song like this wouldn’t feel entirely out of place in the canon of Hank Williams hard-fought love songs or on a record like Neil Young’s Harvest.
Again, the biggest flaw with Something In The Air is its length. The three songs, while all accomplished pieces of Americana-tinged pop aren’t really enough and by the time he’s hooked you, he’s done. It’s clever, but kind of annoying so for the time being, we’re gonna be left waiting for a full-length LP.