An eleven-act confessional confronting the band’s sins, anxieties and hopes
Sophie Walker
14:28 3rd October 2019

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King Nun look through a mystical lens at rites of passage and growing up on their debut album Mass. The record represents a seminal moment for the band: a rejection of the vitriolic punks they first emerged as, in favour of wearing their tattered hearts masted to their sleeves. Mass is an eleven-act confessional as we lend an ear to their sins, their anxieties and their hopes.

The world we are drawn into is one that is dark and surreal: a wonderland warped. Frontman Theo Polyzoides is our ragged raconteur, basking in the blurred line of panic and composure. “I wish that Seth was dead, just kidding, I love Seth” he croons, grappling with his self-destructive shadow, facing the contradiction of being unable to live within, and unable to live without him. It’s the lifeblood of the album: anthemic, with a chant-worthy chorus. 

King Nun have mastered a certain alchemy which is rarely seen these days: the vocals and the instrumentals don’t outpace each other, but instead linger in harmony. ‘Cowboy’, a song dissecting the demands toxic masculinity puts on young men, is an all-round knock out. The wild and unfettered way in which the groovy, arresting bassline is mined from the instrument, paired with the pinched riffs, makes the track the strongest on the record. Ending with Polyzoides’ maniacal laughter, it’s a shining demonstration that King Nun are the masters of atmosphere. 

‘Black Tree’, a metaphor for depression, is every bit as stifling as its subject-matter. Sticky and suffocating, there is an overwhelming sense of being ensnared by the very same branches as Polyzoides, his delivery tripping over itself in neurotic haste. ‘Low Flying Dandelion’ is a garish inversion of all that you’d consider melodic. The guitarwork is a jarring, and leaves you quite disorientated; it’s an uncanny reversal of ‘Chinese Medicine’, melting the rules and remoulding them into something unsettling. 

Mass is a bold statement of intent that is followed through to the letter. 

Mass is released on 4 October 2019 via Dirty Hit. 

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