ALBUM: Nun Habit – ‘hedge fun’

There is nothing about Nun Habit’s debut album hedge fun that would suggest it was recorded in a single hasty weekend between lockdowns. The band describe it as “a rejection of the corporate and mundane and a celebration of everything there is to love about queer DIY music”. They have absolutely lived up to that description in every beat of this record.

The album opens with the smooth, relaxed ‘Slip N Slide’. Deep, gentle notes ease you into the track, with burbling synths and warm vocals dancing around a rich bass line. This sets the scene for the rest of the album, which is constructed expertly out of the band’s signature synth and string combo playing over that rumbling bass. ‘Slip N Slide’ builds into a powerful climax, launching effortlessly into the high energy of ‘Marigolds’.

hedge fun fluctuates in terms of pace and energy. The tracks fit together comfortably, creating a vibe that ebbs and flows with a natural rhythm. Some tracks slow right down so that they feel more like beat poetry, with a gentle pace and cool beats. Others match the fast pace and high energy of ‘Marigolds’, with that raw screaming sound that sweeps you up into a chaotically wonderful whirlwind of synths and drums.

The real magic of this album is how much emotion is packed into every note sang – every vocal note is heavy with expression, whether it’s one of the more nonchalant tracks or the roaring impactful ones.

‘TinderHingeHer’ in particular takes you on an emotional rollercoaster just through its energy. It begins cool and laid-back, as you swipe aimlessly through dating app profiles, at first casual. But it soon ramps up into a raw, emotional cry as you go through the motions getting increasingly desperate to find someone to connect with.

Lyrically, the album touches on so many aspects of contemporary life and the feelings they inspire, both the happy and difficult. hedge fun captures that rare place where emotions intersect – where they clash and where they reach a fleeting sense of harmony, before you’re plunged back into the overwhelming cacophony of reality.

Finally, the collection ends on one of the more relaxed-sounding tracks – the poignant, short-but-sweet ‘One More’ – reflecting on the ups and downs of relationships with the band’s trademark honesty and wit.

hedge fun showcases all there is to love about Nun Habit and their knack for fusing together an eclectic mix of both musical genres and lyrical subject matter in the most uplifting of ways. A cheering sonic exploration that demands multiple listens, and will leave you looking forward with uncertainty but optimism for what this band are going to do next.

Listen to, and buy, hedge fun on bandcamp here.

Kirstie Summers

Track Of The Day: Nun Habit – ‘Marigolds’

A song about eczema, ‘marigolds’ by London five-piece nun habit packs way more of a punch than that description might lead you to expect.

It comes in hard and fast, leaping immediately into a big sound – there’s no gradual build up. Instead, this tightly-structured song is the kind of atmospheric track designed for speakers that make the floor throb. Rich growling bass balances out the shriek of the guitars, interweaving the strings to form an excellent platform for trippy burbling keys.

The low, aching vocals give the song a sense of vulnerability. The lyrics themselves are simple and self-aware, with a lot of feeling in every line and the emotion behind the words is clear. The song drips with anxiety, with exhaustion with toxic-masculine culture; with the resolve to stop caring about the ignorant, judgemental things people say. The vocals draw their power from the lyrics and their grounded tone is uplifted by the roaring music behind them.

There’s a sharp drop part way through; a great use of silence that trips you up, but quickly sweeps you back into the intoxicating sound. This, followed by the abrupt ending, reinforces how well ‘marigolds’ lures you into an entirely different headspace. It sucks you in and spits you out and leaves you wondering where to go for more. (The Kickstarter for their new album hedge fun is a good place to start.)

‘marigolds’ comes with a B-side consisting of a moody house edit by producer Josh Albiston. This version is lighter and slower-paced. It’s spaced out so you can feel more of the texture in the piece. Whilst it’s almost twice as long, it doesn’t feel it. The bright, popping sounds are softer, with gentler drums and vocals that are stripped right back. There’s still a chirpy rhythm to it, but it feels more house party than club dance floor. It fades away until just the throbbing bass line is left; until everything eventually drifts away into silence leaving you, still, eyeing that Kickstarter page.

‘marigolds‘ is out now, ahead of the release of nun habit’s debut album, hedge fun, set for release in August.

Kirstie Summers