English Teacher – This Could Be Texas review: a debut album for the ages

Leeds band English Teacher by Denmarc Creary

Review

rating
10/10
Rating
10.0/10

It has been a genuine pleasure to watch English Teacher rise through the ranks of the UK alternative scene.

The Leeds band have grafted through sweaty clubs and dingy basements, through EP releases and Speedy Wunderground singles on the road to their debut album, This Could Be Texas, and what an utter delight it is.

The whole piece is a gorgeous picture of modern British guitar music and right from the top, ‘Albatross’ makes it markedly clear what ET are all about. The song is bright and breezy, playing with off beats and time signatures, and is positively drenched in melancholy. Frontwoman Lily Fontaine is a revelation, and her poetic license is unmatched throughout this record. ‘Albatross’ flickers between sublime arty pop and wonky, more traditional post-punk stylings. The piece acts as an overture for the record before we’re plunged headfirst into the unshakeable groove of lead single, ‘The World’s Biggest Paving Slab‘. 

Fontaine’s lyricism is a shining light throughout Texas, with references to Bronte, A Clockwork Orange (see the heartbreaking ‘You Blister My Paint’) alongside themes of inadequacy, celebrity, love, loss, ambition and the state of the nation.

Her words leap from the songs to form dramatic, often gut-wrenchingly emotional pieces. The words are matched by inspired musicality too, with songs on this album often starting minimalist, before blossoming into the most beautiful pieces, with each member catching a chance to showcase their talent. Angular drumming, mesmeric, ethereal guitars and basslines that are as complex as they are groovy – English Teacher are the perfect musical storm, and This Could Be Texas is a debut album for the ages. 

‘I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying’ is a highlight early on. Sharing its name with a playground retort, the cut carries itself in a distinctly Smiths-like fashion, with fat and funky Rourke-esque bass accompanied by layers of acoustic and electric guitar, before it breaks down into a different beast entirely. Superbly placed synthy wobbles and effects build on the frenetic ending of this mesmeric cut: every second of this record feels mature, thought out to its best possible conclusion, and simply put, awe-inspiring. 

‘Not Everybody Gets To Go To Space’ showcases the more experimental end of the band’s range, with a swirling, blistering intro of electronica, before breaking into yet another tear-jerker of a song. The rhythm section of this band is something else – drummer Douglas Frost, and bassist Nicholas Eden have an unparalleled chemistry, and a signature move of English Teacher is to break their tracks down into these spectacular, angular, off-beat sections that are incredibly effective.

Breakthrough single ‘R&B’ rears its head on This Could Be Texas, but it feels grown up and mature here. In a fitting allegory for the band themselves; the original is punchy and anthemic, whilst the latest version showcases nuance, growth, maturity and a full-blooded realisation of massive potential. ‘Nearly Daffodils’ is also exceptional, placing the unrelenting musical quality of this band at the forefront of the scene, paired with inspired lyricism and the metaphoric quality of Alex Turner

The “post-punk” label in this country has come to be a burden for many, but English Teacher have shaken off the baggage that comes with this label with ease. This Could Be Texas is easily an album of the year contender and announces English Teacher on the scene as a real presence.

Their music is arty, passionate and bold: pairing sheer talent with a down-to-earth reality that can only come from an outfit who have ‘done their time’ at dead-end jobs and tiny shows. This band is bursting with potential, and This Could Be Texas is them beginning to realise it: there are massive things on the horizon for English Teacher. 

featured image: Denmarc Creary

Review

rating
10/10
Rating
10.0/10
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