English Teacher captivates listeners with theatrical debut

Leeds-based four piece English Teacher make a theatrical and unique mark on the British-indie scene with their strong debut, This Could Be Texas, which emphasises the band’s lyrical talent alongside their stellar experimental sound.

The highly anticipated album follows the band’s 2022 debut EP Polyawkward – and pre-released singles from the LP, such as ‘The World’s Biggest Paving Slab’, have already amassed over one million (well-deserved) listens.

What has always made English Teacher unique as a band is their outside-of-the box take on indie. This Could Be Texas emphasises this with the album’s experimental nature. ‘Albatross’ and ‘Sideboob’ lean into a lighter, ethereal sound, while ‘Not Everybody Gets To Go To Space’ plays with tempo, and ‘Broken Biscuits’ gives the band free reign with their instruments.

What the band excel at, whichever form this is in, is cohesively blending their instruments and talents together to create captivating instrumental sections. ‘Albatross’ opens the album with a punchy, drum-led instrumental closing the track, the band channel Black Country, New Road with a cathartic musical release in ‘Broken Biscuits’, and gorgeous strings with gentle, overlaid harmonies in ‘Mastermind Specialism’ are a stand-out moment.

The album is tinged with a theatrical feel, which is channelled in the added sound effects in ‘The Best Tears Of Your Life’ and the abrupt ending to closing track ‘Albert Road’, which leaves you longing for even more new music from the quartet. Paired with the monologue-like lyrics and vocals, the listener is taken on a musical journey that spans from political commentary to light-hearted colloquialisms.

Vocalist Lily Fontaine sings (and speaks) the thoughtful lyrics on this album, which are in fact more than just lyrics – they’re true poetry. It’s rare to see a 50/50 split between singing and speaking on a record nowadays, and it really works on this record. ‘Broken Biscuits’ exclaims ‘Blame the council, not the rain…’ with its social commentary and Fontaine powerfully sings about her experiences of being a woman of colour in the industry on ‘R&B’. ‘I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying’, is produced in a visual way to immerse the listener in what denial and delusion really feels like, and the aforementioned ‘Sideboob’ transports you to the Pennines and tackles feelings of identity.

What really shines through on this album is the band’s passion for music, and their passion to make change with their music. The future is bright for English Teacher as they have their first sell-out UK tour this year. And with their unique takes on social commentary and instrumentation, I’m sure we can expect to see more stellar music from them in the future, as This Could Be Texas is one of the best debuts I’ve heard this year.

Haiku Review:
Poetic lyrics
And theatrical strong sounds
Make a strong debut

This Could Be Texas is out today via Island Records, and can be streamed on all major streaming platforms, or purchased via Bandcamp.

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