Nun Habit have been active for the last few years. Pre-pandemic, they were a regular fixture at the Victoria Dalston, hosting several exciting line-ups (their live show is always great fun). Now, to follow 2018’s ‘Nun Habit Die Hard’ EP and a couple of singles earlier this year, comes their self-released debut album.
‘Hedge Fun’ comes as Nun Habit (Kate, Greg, Emma, Rachel and Selina) now spread themselves between London and Glasgow.
The band frontload the album with two of their teaser singles, the atmospheric to kooky fun of ‘Slip n Slide’ and the moody, jagged and almost Pulp-esque ‘Marigolds’. Greg’s tongue set firmly in cheek throughout.
The ripping ‘Flock of Seagulls’ is the first we hear of Kate’s powerful vocal. The fairground organ here is a joy. In fact, the keys throughout the album add a real effervescence, sense of fun and sparkle.
The gorgeous ‘Snow Day’ follows. There are hints of Galaxie 500 in the verses and Grandaddy in the chorus. The slow, laid back verse instrumental builds to a majestic Pavement-like climax in what is perhaps the highlight of this set.
Nun Habit throw Casio style beats into the mix on the repetitive, dry spoken word ramble of ‘Jeremy’s Horses’.
The relative calm sets up a counterfoil for the punchy first single ‘Righteous Jerk’, which sees Kate resume vocal duties. It’s a tightly winding coil of a song that hints at springing into life before really letting go in the final minute.
‘TinderHingeHer’ is great fun, kind of sitting between Dry Cleaning and The Cool Greenhouse. Greg’s spoken word verses and the repetitive chord pattern are Fall-esque, the backing vocals towards the end adding a Los Campesinos exuberance.
The band have an interesting approach to rhythm to match their instantly catchy melodic sensibilities on ‘Soap and Cigarettes’. Emma’s drumbeat is more frantic than I’d initially expected from the bouncy guitar lines, giving the song a real fizzy zip. It builds into an urgent Springsteen style anthem.
‘Blooms’ opens with a gentle feedback and plaintive, sparse guitar chords that introduce what seems like it’s going to be a straightforward folk song. That is up until we get to the crooked choruses. The organ and fuzzy guitar drawl at the end is wonderfully atmospheric.
This would have been a suitable ending in itself but there’s time for one more, with… well… ‘One More’. It’s a short ditty that befits the band’s excitable quirkiness.
Nun Habit are one of those bands that always sound like they’re having a good time. ‘Hedge Fun’ is an accomplished and often delightful debut album.
You may enjoy this if you like Pulp, Galaxie 500, Pavement, The Magnetic Fields
‘Hedge Fun’ Artwork by Dani Johnson