Following the release of their caustic, indie-punk anthem, ‘Selfish,’ London-based grunge upstarts KING NUN today announce their highly anticipated new album ‘LAMB’, set for release on respected independent label Marshall Records, 29th September 2023. Fans can pre-save/pre-order – HERE
The announcement is accompanied by the band’s latest video ‘But We Live On The Beach’ – HERE.
‘LAMB’(produced by the band’s very own Caius Stockley-Young at The Marshall Studio) sees the London quintet take us on a journey that embraces vulnerability and authenticity. With a poignant blend of introspection and raw emotion, this is a collection of vibrant, hook-laden tracks that delves deep into the human experience; with a healthy dose of existentialism, confronting one’s terror, as well as social and emotional threats and anxieties head-on.
The album encapsulates the struggle to remain true to oneself in a world that often demands conformity and detachment. This powerful indie-punk, grunge opus serves as a profound metaphor for that delicate part of us susceptible to cynicism, trauma and emotional pain. Yet, it is precisely this vulnerability that emerges as the most beautiful aspect of our being, rising to the occasion with resilience and grace.
In a society where the prevailing response to challenges is often to become cynical and mask our emotions, ‘LAMB’ offers a refreshing alternative. It speaks directly to the struggles faced by many, highlighting that true solutions lie not in aggression or escapism, but in embracing our shared humanity. By retaining our naivety, optimism, and trust, we can carve a path towards a brighter and more compassionate future.
Speaking on their new album, vocalist and enigmatic frontman Theo Polyzoides comments:
“LAMB is about vulnerability. It’s about being true to yourself. It’s about retaining the part of you that is naive and optimistic and trusting, in the face of a world that will turn you into a fucking android if you give it even an inch.” exclaims Polyzoides.”
“So, LAMB is a metaphor for that Achilles heel, the part of you that is susceptible to trauma, emotional pain… all of these things,” he expands. “that’s the thing that rises to the occasion and is the most beautiful part of us… I think that, actually, if we all just tried to retain a bit of humanity, we’d probably make a better future.”
Through its evocative melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and fearless exploration of the human psyche, this album stands as a testament to the power of vulnerability, positivity and the enduring strength found within each of us. This interplay of light and shade can be found expertly showcased with the band’s latest single ‘But We Live On The Beach’.
“In direct contrast to how bright and optimistic the song sounds, lyrically, this is one of our bleakest songs.” remarks Theo. “It’s about being surrounded by friends who are all developing substance issues, when you come home to a 24/7 rager that goes on for weeks on end. In this song; ‘the beach’ is an analogy for a party. The chorus is a desperate plea which is to say; “No, I don’t want any part of this, we LIVE on the beach, this isn’t a holiday anymore, it’s become habit, the novelty is gone and it’s getting scary now.”
When Theo Polyzoides speaks about King Nun, it quickly becomes clear that the London band are, above all else, a gang of fierce friends. “We were all outsiders in our own way,” he says, “but we all very desperately wanted the same thing. It wasn’t even a question that we would start a band.”
Formed in 2013, the band had humble beginnings: Polyzoides, Nathan Gane, Caius SY and James Upton were at school together, unlikely friends brought together by music. “We were listening to very aggressive music that sounded very apart from our actual lives. American music specifically, American punk rock from the 70s and 90s. We were hyper-fixated on CBGBs. The different culture was fascinating.”
Their list of influences ranges from Television to Pixies, Black Sabbath to Sonic Youth, which have stuck with them since their teens. Now, years later, they’ve kept the same angst and drive of those early rehearsals, but developed their sound into something more complex and thoughtful, capable of bittersweet calm as well as raucous punk. “The thing we’ll take with us is the attitude but sonically we could go anywhere,” says Theo.
Since first single Tulip in 2016, King Nun went on to reach as many of those childhood ambitions as they could: headline tours across the UK, Europe and the US, as well as shows supporting bands such as Foo Fighters, Black Flagand Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. They pride themselves on their raucous live shows, vindicated by Rolling Stone naming them ‘Best Rock Newcomers’ at Bonnarroo festival.
In 2019 they released their debut album Mass, cited by NME as ‘brutal and brilliant’ and DIY as ‘a sound to be reckoned with’. The timing of this release, immediately before the pandemic, meant the band had to abandon plans for further tours, but this didn’t stop them. Instead, they built their own studio and set about writing as many songs as they could, which culminated in their upcoming release Lamb, addition of newest member Ethan SY on guitar, and a new signing with Marshall Records.
“I really do believe LAMB is our greatest achievement because it’s so honest,” says Theo, “and it’s the thing I’m most proud of because there was such a struggle to make it happen.” Over the course of the lockdown, the boys wrote non-stop with their vision fixed firmly on the next release, with the name itself guiding them from the start. “I loved the quasi-religious imagery that we were using with Mass, and the title of that album led us on to the title for Lamb. I knew that that name had significance because the thing that struck me about it was the innocence and fragility being right next to the sacrificial animal. A lot of violence and naivety right next to each other in the same word.”
The album lives up to this lofty promise – opener Golden Age is a no-holds-barred punk stomp, with Theo challenging you to “kiss the toe and lick the heel/ of every motherfucker here.” “The song is a play by play of my internal monologue while working minimum wage jobs, and facing what am I going do if music doesn’t work out,” he says. It shows King Nun at their most violent, and yet it is matched by Sinking Feeling, a bittersweet ballad reminiscent of The Strokes. “It’s about either falling in love, or out of it,” explains Theo, “and I love that ambiguity. It’s the same contrast I wanted the whole album to have.” Both in its words and its music, LAMB is an album of vying personalities, weaving between tenderness and intensity.
Produced by King Nun’s drummer Caius Stockley-Young, the album was a lot more personal than previous recordings. “Right from the beginning of the band, from day one, Caius was always producing us our demos, so our process with him is almost second nature,” says Theo. “While we were always driven in the studio there was definitely the feeling we were amongst friends.”
It’s hard to imagine the album coming from any other environment – some songs on the album are so left-field they could only come from a home-grown environment. Take OCD for example, with its discordant guitars and body horror lyrics, which draw from those early influences of Sonic Youth and Pixies but never treads familiar ground.
“I think there was a good two years where I had an incredible bout of health anxiety that at every turn nearly put a stop to my life,” says Theo about the song. “I was really struggling with everything you could imagine and the simplest thing became massive and complicated because I was overanalysing my well being physically and emotionally. It was winding into this weird obsessive compulsive something.” The result is something twisted and dark, drawing the same compulsive mindset, and proving King Nun to be a band capable of losing ties to any one genre.
The album hosts its fair share of melodic pop-rock anthems, too. Selfish slams into overdrive from the opening chords, creating a wall of sound similar to My Bloody Valentine or Smashing Pumpkins, and wastes no time in telling a story the band had become all too familiar with from their years of extensive touring. “That’s about us as a band coming to terms with balancing our lives as musicians with our personal lives. In the middle of a particularly long tour, for the first time since we started all this, we realised there is a difficulty there and a conflict in trying to pursue anything you love wholeheartedly and staying in contact with what’s important back home”.
Similarly, But We Live On The Beach carries an undeniable bounce and swagger that can only come from a band with such a strong pedigree of playing live shows. Behind the swagger of the song, however, lies a serious and sober message. “It was based on a particular part of my life where everyone I knew seemed to have some sort of substance issue, and I was literally living between parties that I didn’t even want to be at,” he says, “so the song is voicing this incredible frustration Ihad about how do I get through this part of my life – how do I look out for my friends and myself in equal measure.”
Underpinning all these songs lies a stubborn optimism, a message that difficulty makes the best of us. King Nun’s long journey to make LAMB is lived experience of this message, too, and the band are all the more grateful and aware that what they have to say will resonate with other people. “When the opportunity finally came at the end of a lot of pain, we finally realised our own naivety and fragility and also the sacrifices that have to be made to pursue what we love. The life we went and lived resembled everything we needed it to in order to resemble the title.”
From their place as young outsiders, King Nun have grown together to make their own space, somewhere strange and expressive and entirely their own. Their very identity is rooted in the honesty and range of emotion they put into their music, balanced between brash garage punk and soul-searching introspective, never afraid to say what they’re feeling and push the music as far as the message. It is only a matter of time before King Nun is hailed as one of indie rock’s most distinctive voices.
‘LAMB’ will arrive 29th September 2023 via Marshall Record. Fans can Pre-order – HERE.