Album Review: King Nun - 'Mass'
Luke talks us through the exciting debut record from London indie-rockers King Nun.
This young four-piece from London have had their best year yet, and their debut album is a fitting conclusion to it. King Nun’s Mass features soaring guitar riffs and intense vocals from front man Theo Polyzoides in an electrifying debut which marks the band’s official entrance to the rock scene. It’s exciting to think of their youth and promise, as they mean the UK can now enjoy yet another great live guitar band who are sure to attract large crowds on their upcoming tour.
The album kicks off with Mascara Runs, which is the perfect introduction to this loud, in-your-face record; it feels like a refreshed return to the classic punk/rock era of the 90s and yet it resonates with the youth of today, growing up in troubled times. Chinese Medicine was one of their previously released singles but remains on this album for good reason. This song was my entry point into King Nun and remains a staple indie tune which is sure to stay in your head for weeks after listening – no doubt it’ll be a crowd pleaser. The energy of this song is reminiscent of old Arctic Monkeys material, and King Nun are now stepping up to assume a similar place in the scene. I Saw Blue also recreates that particular British style of rock which characterises the execution of the entire album.
The guitar riffs are prominent throughout but are perhaps best showcased by the track Cowboy. The album feels very 90s Britpop, yet King Nun’s intensity and darkness also highlight their desire to prove themselves part of the next generation of British rock music.
'It feels like a refreshed return to the classic punk/rock era of the 90s and yet it resonates with the youth of today'.
Sharing a Head With Seth is the band playing what they love, taking advantage of the creative freedom allowed to them under the Dirty Hit label, which has given birth to cult bands such as The 1975 and Pale Waves. It’s an extensive family of creative freedom where the artists are able to cultivate their own image and brand of music, meaning King Nun can now be used in the same sentence as these hugely successful bands.
Black Tree is another single which was released prior to Mass as a whole, and it’s the song that defines this album. The tone of this track is dark and melancholy, creating the perfect image of the band King Nun want to be. In a recent interview with NME, King Nun noted that this album was them ‘growing up’ and becoming a proper band, and Black Tree is certainly the most mature track on the album. It carries the monotony of Joy Division but has the musical energy of current rock bands – an innovative combination that cannot be ignored. Another great track on this album that displays King Nun’s potential is Low Flying Dandelion; its intensity comes at the perfect time in our disjointed world.
The final track on the album, A Giant Came Down, is a beautifully constructed ending to an intensely dark album. It proves that Mass is innovative in its blend of indie, punk and rock genres throughout the album, making King Nun commercially ready to step up to new heights. The end of their debut leaves mixed feelings; disappointment that it’s over, yet happy at the prospect of King Nun’s future.
'Mass is innovative in its blend of indie, punk and rock genres throughout the album, making King Nun commercially ready to step up to new heights'.
The confidence they have on their debut album is admirable and they have nailed every aspect of Mass. King Nun are Britain’s newest rock innovators through their grand use of words and melodies, rejecting rock’s repeated clichés. Every song on this album gives you a new lease of life through its passion and energy – it’s a coming-of-age album that personally strikes me as an essential listen. This youthful four-piece have truly grown-up; they’ve now entered the big leagues of the industry, in which I’m sure they’ll have no trouble keeping up.