One to watch: English Teacher

<span>In their own lane… English Teacher.</span><span>Photograph: Denmarc Creary</span>
In their own lane… English Teacher.Photograph: Denmarc Creary

Are you paying attention at the back? Whenever a music scene erupts – and it rarely does these days – it’s followed by the inevitable slew of copycats. With the breakout British bands of recent years, much of that hype has orbited south London. But English Teacher are reorienting northward, with smart songwriting that feels fresh. The four-piece met at Leeds Conservatoire, played their first gigs in 2020, and are about to release their promising debut album, This Could Be Texas, on the same major label as the Last Dinner Party.

Sure, they may have the suitably arch band name, wiry melodies and wry song titles (Sideboob, The Best Tears of Your Life) that are mandatory among post-punkers, but equally, English Teacher are attempting to create their own lane. Their music encompasses collegiate emo-rock, dreampop and psychedelia, and they contrast the landscape of the north with social, economic and political observations – as on terrific breakthrough track The World’s Biggest Paving Slab.

On the band’s first single, 2021’s R&B, meanwhile, frontwoman Lily Fontaine muses about misgivings over her musical style because she’s mixed race, and concludes: “Despite appearances, I haven’t got the voice for R&B.” Indeed, Fontaine favours sprechgesang, the deadpan spoken delivery familiar to fans of Dry Cleaning and Black Country, New Road. But her secret weapon is the gorgeous airy register she saves for the band’s more tender moments.

This Could Be Texas is out now on Island; English Teacher tour the UK until 29 May