Album Review: King Nun – Mass

King Nun – Mass

Words by Gary Lambert

King Nun have been one of my favourite live acts on the circuit recently, so when the opportunity to review their debut album came up my hand was first in the air. Now I know I won’t be the only person looking forward to this record on the basis of the raw, loud nights watching the south Londoners, but I don’t think every one of those fans will share my opinion on the album such is the difference between the live sound and the recorded sound. There is no feeling of betrayal in my mind, but rather an understanding that a live gig and a record serve different purposes and moods. Plus it’s so tough for bands in the modern era to make any more from music, let alone a decent wage for the members, so if they put something to record which is both honest to themselves as artists and appealing to a broader demographic then fair fucks to them.

For me, from the opening of Mascara Runs King Nun succeed in making a record which connects with yours truly. And I don’t mean that in a teen angst “he’s capturing my feelings” way, but rather that Theo’s vocal cuts through straight to me on every track. I love it. It’s the sort of record I would have gone wild about in my teenage years, and it makes the electricity of youth awaken inside me. Another reason for the excitement is the shortness of the album. Fewer than half of the album’s tracks last over three and a half minutes, everything feels so sharp and punchy. Even the longest track, Transformer coming in at three minutes and fifty eight seconds, feels edgy, punctuated by screaming vocals and a staccato flow across the song.

There is a darkness to the album too. It isn’t the soundtrack to nights out or filled with tales of nights out. It encapsulates heartbreak, loneliness, and depression, but rather than enhance those feelings as some artists do, I found that Mass made me feel like the world was there for conquering by all of us. But there is still room for dancing. Low Flying Dandelion is the sort of song that you could stick on at 4am and fall in love with the only other person in the room who knows all the words to it. Or you could just end up dancing to it no promises.

My favourite song on the album is Sharing A Head With Seth. There is such wit and intelligence in the song, coupled with guitar playing reminiscent of Graham Coxon circa Modern Life Is Rubbish in how sharp, angular and poppy it is. In fact, a lot of the album reminds me of nineties with memories of Blur, Suede, and Placebo coming at different times. But this is not a copy of a bygone age, the real personality of King Nun that comes out of your speakers or earphones is fresh and befitting of the era of social media and bands being more in touch with their fans than ever before (if they want to).

I love this album. You might too.

Listen to Mass below

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