King Nun’s debut album Mass was long awaited after the Wandsworth four-piece teased us with their creative rock style and poetic lyrics in their 2018 EP I Hate Love.
There is a certain darkness to the 11 track album. You would expect a young alt-rock band to sing about love, heartbreak and partying yet the lyrics are dark with an essence of cultish imagery, depression and loneliness. “Black tree” is a metaphor in itself for depression. The tone of this song is dark and melancholic, fitting perfectly with the imagery the lyrics create.
Opener, ‘Mascara Runs’ displays an anger against love: “Yes I fucking love you darling / I’ll love you until I die”. Instrumentally, this is a strong opener with flawless guitar riffs that get your head banging from the get-go. The song ends abruptly after the closing lyrics creating that classic 90s punk ending.
The album flaunts classic rock numbers such as ‘Tulip’ and their most recent single ‘Bug’ as well as some ambitious combinations of punk, indie and psych rock. Statement indie track ‘Chinese Medicine’ is one of their previously released singles that returns on Mass. With its polished guitar work and strong vocals, there’s a good reason why.
The electric guitar work is prominent throughout the whole album, but ‘Cowboy’ is a real showcase of the boys’ talent. The spoken word verses on the top of the intense guitar riffs are almost Britpop sounding – proving this album has no genre restrictions.
The lyrics are anecdotal and centre around personal experiences, expressing their dark thoughts. ‘Sharing a head with Seth’ is the band taking creative freedom through their metaphorical lyrics: “I wish Seth was dead / Just kidding I love Seth”. ‘Seth’ is likely to be the personified metaphor for depression / mental illness cohabiting in your mind, which is a very creative outlook on mental illness. You can feel King Nun’s passion in this song through the powerful drum beats and guitar chords that accentuate the lyrics.
The stand out album track ‘Low Flying Dandelion’ is a creative masterpiece.
With its twangy guitar chords, layered instrumental build ups and warped melodies that are jarring and quite unsettling but somehow, it works. It’s different, but it works.
With the album released on the iconic label Dirty Hit who brought us Pale Waves, The 1975 and Wolf Alice, King Nun are likely to go far. The dark lyrics on the album alongside the disorienting guitar sounds make this album not for everyone, but alternative rock lovers looking for something a bit different, this is it.
Image: Ian Cheek Press