SINGLE REVIEW: R+B by English Teacher
After bringing us releases from the hottest emerging bands, recruiting the likes of Hallan, Courting, and Anorak Patch, independent label Nice Swan Records returns again this month for the final instalment of their compilation series Nice Swan Introduces Volume 1, serving us Leeds alt-rockers English Teacher and their biting new single R&B.
The Yorkshire quartet consists of Lily Fontaine (vocals, rhythm guitar, synth), Douglas Frost (drums, synth), Nicholas Eden (bass, synth), and Lewis Whiting (lead guitar, synth). If frontwoman Lily Fontaine looks familiar, you might recognise her from equally exciting indie-rock outfit Eades - bubbling with creative energy, one band isn't enough for unstoppable Lily.
Having first met whilst studying in Leeds, English Teacher have sought inspiration from social issues, literature, and wit for their brand new material. Previous singles such as The Treacle Trap Door and The World's Biggest Paving Slab highlight English Teacher's innovative experimentation as they drift across dreampop and indie-rock soundscapes with ease.
New release R&B elevates the band's sound to a fresh, exhilarating alt-rock noise as they continue to hone their musical expertise, resulting in a dynamic and driving sonic experience that is dripping in dry wit and self-awareness. From distorted guitars and angular basslines, to aggressive drums and commanding vocals that push the edge of spoken word, true to post-punk fashion and reminiscent of modern pioneers like Dry Cleaning and Sprints, R&B is a fusion of exciting noise that showcases English Teacher’s fierce versatility.
As tension builds, Lily's vocals surpass deadpan into urgent repetition, with lines like "despite appearances, I haven't got the voice for R&B" confronting the frustrations of racial stereotyping, as the song spirals into a shaken cocktail can of thrashing, anxiety-inducing punk rawness. It's obvious that Lily's place is making noise in a rock band, and we wouldn't want to see her anywhere else.
Commenting on the inspiration behind the track, the band said: "R&B is about the cyclical, productivity-diminishing paradox of low self-esteem and imposter syndrome-induced writer’s block that then fuels low self-esteem and imposter syndrome. It’s also about racial identity and putting the love that you have to offer a potential romantic partner back into yourself."
Now having caught our attention with their unmissable punk-rock vigour, English Teacher are primed to carve their spot in the emerging indie landscape as a band you need to be watching! You can thank the Coven for giving you a heads-up on them later.
Catch English Teacher live at the following dates:
13-14 May - The Great Escape Festival (Online)
12 Aug - Record Junkee, Sheffield (supporting FEET)
13 Aug - Deaf Institute, Manchester (supporting FEET)
25 Aug - YES, Manchester (Nice Swan showcase with Hallan and Jaws The Shark)
31 Oct - Bootleg Social, Blackpool (supporting Sprints)
10 Nov - Oporto, Leeds (supporting Sprints)
Review by Chloe Robbins
Photography by Sara Carpentieri