Runaway Nuns - Holy Collusion (Cover Artwork)

Runaway Nuns

Holy Collusion (2019)


Most of the folks that I knew who got into the garage re-revival of the 2010s had previously been punk and hardcore kids. They had traded in their Chuck Taylors and black band t-shirts for Mary Poppins’ boots and floral button-downs. They were still punks and the garage re-revival was still basically punk music, but there seemed to be an air of pretension to it all.

The Runaway Nuns are, for the most part, a product of this very same garage re-revival but they have deftly managed to sidestep many of the attitudinal pitfalls of the movement.

On their latest record, “Holy Collusion”, the Cape Town quintet flexes their muscles and spreads their wings a bit more, building on the groundwork laid by their previous releases. While they do have elements of “surf” or “garage” in their sound, they are more of a punk band than anything else.

The album starts of at a steady pace with the first few tracks before packing its first real punch with “Keep Down”. The song explodes with a giddy riff that really shows off one of the band’s secret weapons: tight, creative instrumentation. They don’t always need to flaunt it, but when they do, like on the surfy vibes of “Keep Down”, there’s no mistaking their talent. And I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t at least mention the sublime bass work found throughout.

Aside from its technical chops, “Holy Collusion” shine brightest when the band lets its more punky influences take control. Bouncy bangers like “Alright Now” and “Get It” are instant mosh pit fuel and most faithfully capture the joyous energy of the band’s live performances.

The rest of the album hops back-and-forth between surf, garage, and punk with varying degrees of success. For the most part, however, it all works out in the band’s (and the listener’s) favor. A times, the “psych”/surf production gimmicks (tinny distortion on vocals, guitars) don’t do the recordings any favors. Other times, however, the effects are pulled of well (like on the roarin finale to “Modern Hero”).

With frontman Sean Baron’s smooth-yet-gruff vocals leading the way, “Holy Collusion” is a solid record from a band that just seems to be getting better. No attitudes. No snobbery. Just down-to-Earth dudes at the bottom of the planet, making a triumphant, sweaty ruckus.