English Teacher are a new British post-punk band — you probably guessed that based on the band name — but they zig where some of these other groups zag. The band formed at Leeds Conservatoire in 2020, blending multiple trendy sounds that don’t normally go together. There’s some talky, angular post-punk in there, but also dream-pop and straight-ahead pop-rock. Much of the accessibility stems from singer Lily Fontaine’s voice; as Brooklyn Vegan points out, it’s a bright and melodious instrument that contrasts with the band’s sharp corners and machinelike chug.
Inevitably, English Teacher were affiliated with Dan Carey at one point, releasing their “Song About Love” single on the UK producer’s Speedy Wunderground label. Now they’ve signed to Island, and their first single for the label is promising. It’s called “The World’s Biggest Paving Slab,” which is a bit on-the-nose for this genre. At first the song sounds like the exact midpoint between Dry Cleaning and Wet Leg, but by the chorus it has morphed into something far softer and prettier.
I wrote and recorded the demo in my bedroom in one day, during my final year of university in 2018. Moving to a city for university forced me to reflect on how my experience of growing up in and around Pendle, how witnessing the social, economic and political issues that exist around there in juxtaposition with the beauty of the landscape and the characters that live within in it, has shaped me into the artist and person that I am. These semi-rural stories leak into most of my writing; in particular, this song tackles delusions of grandeur and inferiority from the perspective of a small town’s local celebrities. It’s split into two halves.
Below, watch director Claryn Chong’s “The World’s Biggest Paving Slab” video and check out “Song About Love” too.