Album Review: King Nun - Mass

After already seeing some success with a series of singles and a 5-track EP in 2018, London 4-piece King Nun have finally released their debut LP ‘Mass’ into the world hoping to make an impact on the indie-rock scene. After liking their most popular single ‘Mess Around’, I was excited to get into this album […]

Finlay Holden
21st October 2019
Image: @kingnunband on Twitter

After already seeing some success with a series of singles and a 5-track EP in 2018, London 4-piece King Nun have finally released their debut LP ‘Mass’ into the world hoping to make an impact on the indie-rock scene.

After liking their most popular single Mess Around’, I was excited to get into this album and find some new decent guitar-based music that I could enjoy listening  to. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the results - there were no  tracks that really stood out to me due to the extremely generic sound throughout.

Listen to the opening track ‘Mascara Runs’, and if you like this then you will likely praise the rest of the songs also. To me, it has extremely strange sounding vocals overriding the guitar backing that make it entirely unpleasant.

The vocals on ‘Chinese Medicine’ aren’t awful and the riffs are decent leading into a heavy chorus, making this one of the best songs on the album despite it being somewhat generic for the genre, and also already been previously released as a single and featured on the EP. Recycling music like this shows a lack of material, especially when it is not even the best single King Nun has put out by a long shot, making this an odd decision by the band.

Of the two singles from the album, ‘Black Tree’ is a bore to listen to and ‘Low Flying Dandelion’ sounds generic and messy. This is a real change from the first four singles the band released in 2016-17 which were at least good and bordering great.

I really wanted to enjoy this album, but the consistent theme of uneven, almost whiny vocals that just sound off, set against poor guitar riffs made it difficult. This is a real shame as I'm sure the band has more potential than this; if you’re looking to enjoy King Nun’s music, I’d advise you to ignore this record and stick to listening to their previously released singles.

(2 / 5)

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  1. I respect your opinion but i disagree entirely.

    First of all the single you are referring to is "Hung Around" not "Mess Around"...

    Secondly the practice of re-releasing a song multiple times is not at all uncommon; especially on lead singles or EP's. Good examples of this are "Mr Brightside" by The Killers and "Creep" by Radiohead - both bands that i'm sure you wouldn't describe as having "a lack of material" .. !!

    I also find it interesting that you would describe this album as generic!! It varies so drastically from song to song - never getting bogged down in any one genre for more than a few moments. This band so clearly cannot be pigeonholed into any current UK movement. Name one band that sounds like they do? You would have to name a whole plethora of bands before you get to the kind of genre-scope this one outfit accomplishes.

    I'm not even the biggest fan of theirs - i think its aimed at a totally different generation - but even i can see they are forging their own path and stand WAY apart from their peers. Their singer has a unique thing going on and i really like his timbre and way of spinning words. I'm not saying its the best thing since sliced bread but its certainly the most unique thing i've heard in a long time!

    Peace, H. x

    1. Excuse the typo - I guess that shows how memorable the song really was.

      I understand rereleasing material is a common practice, but it is not one that I agree with, especially this early in a band's career - also, are you seriously comparing King Nun to The Killers or Radiohead?

      Coincidentally, I actually think the similarly named King No-One produce music in a similar vein that is far superior. Their tunes are certainly more poppy, but it is in a similar mood. I don't think all King Nun material is bad, just this new LP stuff; for example, 'I Saw Blue' actually makes me cringe.

      I don't think it stands out from the majority of indie, guitar-based music in any significant or interesting way. If you like their vibe then fair enough, they've clearly found some fans, and hopefully they'll release more good tunes in the future.

      1. Apologies for flagging the mistitled song, Finlay. I suppose I hold my music journalists to a higher standard.

        I have not recently received a head injury, therefore I am clearly not comparing King Nun to either the scale nor quality of the bands previously mentioned. I am simply drawing a parallel to an industry practice that has been in place for decades and with good reason. Try to appreciate the difference in promotional budgets available to EP's and LP's - think of all the songs that would have slipped through the cracks had they not been pushed again with additional support. I highly suspect this is not a case of ‘lack of material” as you stated but rather providing a single they believe in with a more realistic platform for success. You can disagree with the artistic merits of this - but that is the joy of opinion. I for one would rather hear these songs.

        I'm sorry but you totally lost me at King No-One. They are in such a different stylistic vein from King Nun that it makes me wonder if you even listened to the source material at all. To me KNO sound like a low budget imitation of a thousand indie landfill acts - Yawn! Knock Knock its Peace calling from 2012 wanting their schtick back! What music you enjoy is completely at your discretion but drawing a stylistic comparison here is frankly ridiculous.

        Again i am not an avid supporter of King Nun’s music. I simply respect any band that attempts to push the sonic envelope in an interesting direction. It’s evident you feel differently.

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