Even when hungover, English Teacher stand tall as Northern indie flag bearers.
Words: Varun Govil | Photo: Rhiannon Kane
It’s been an unreal ride thus far for one of Yorkshire’s hottest prospects. Playing the legendary Reading and Leeds festival, featuring in every indie music publication worth its salt, and constant radio airplay may be mere aspirations for most, but for English Teacher, they were inevitabilities. Despite a coursing wave of anxiety embedded in their musical fibre and an admirably eager youthfulness, the northern quartet proved ceaselessly that they had just the right something to one day lead the way for British guitar music. Now, on their latest release ‘A55’, we can see the band step into the shoes they were meant for as a grand musical maturation accompanies news of their debut EP ‘Polyawkward’.
Easing us into what later becomes a towering musical statement, frontperson Lily Fontaine’s plucked guitars and dulcet voice brings us to the memory of ‘the morning after the night before’. As the scene sets, with the embarrassment of hedonism defining the spirit of the track, English Teacher’s poetic symbolism and psychedelia-informed instrumentation ebb between disorienting builds and rested verses on the first act of the song. Elements of jazz, folk, and post-punk swirl impressively around the veins of the song even before it enters full stride, with each band member contributing ambitiously, and indispensably.
Finally, with an exhilarating momentum, English Teacher hit a monolithic peak, letting loose on one of the most impressive drops that this year may see. Storming guitars, charged drums and even cinematic cellos all flood their way in, bringing with them triumphant heights. Leading the way for the band, though, is Fontaine, backed by the supporting voices of her bandmates, chanting with an arresting conviction. As the strings close out on what is English Teacher’s most daring track yet, it becomes exciting realising that this is but a taste of their first EP.