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EP REVIEW: Max Bennett Kelly Debuts New EP

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Artist posing for album artwork
Max Bennett Kelly

Seattle-born/LA-based artist, producer, and multiinstrumentalist Max Bennett Kelly has shared his new 90s-tinged EP Junk Male in conjunction with its boxing-themed short film, co-starring + directed by Yellowjackets star Ella Purnell.

Throughout 2023, Max Bennett Kelly assembled what would become Junk Male. Taking the reins, he personally produced and mixed the project, recording on vintage gear to achieve a definitive vision. At the same time, he opened up lyrically. The EP details the story of a kid chasing his dream. In a twist, this protagonist transforms into very worst and most toxic version of himself in the process, i.e. “Junk Male”—only to double back around a little wiser and more understanding than before.

“I tried to make an authentic 90s album in the 2020s. I studied all of these classic records. Thematically, it’s a hero’s journey. I heed the call to adventure, find out it kind of sucks, and end up learning about myself. I don’t have to be this Junk Male version of myself anymore. I’m in touch with what’s important to me, what I like, and why I came to L.A. in the first place.” - Max Bennett Kelly

The Junk Male short film presents a world where the boxing industry is analogous to the music industry. It was shot with a 30+ crew, 12 person cast and over 50 background actors. The protagonist, Hollywood Thompson, is a boxer with a magically powerful left cross. After winning his first championship fight in a single punch, Hollywood becomes a pacifist, afraid of his own power. However, he’s forced to fight again, this time with devastating results. It’s humorous, violent and surreal, and the Junk Male EP provides the film’s soundtrack. Among other things, the film explores the relationship between talent & duty, satirizes the fetishization of the struggling artist, and critiques the way the entertainment industry can exploit and twist the gifts of its entertainers.

Max Bennett Kelly strikes a sweet spot between sticky hooks, unpredictable soundscapes, and cleverly candid storytelling with head-turning lyrics. Amassing tens of millions of streams and earning instant acclaim from fans around the world, he unspools his story on his new Junk Male EP, its accompanying short film, and much more to come.


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