Review: English Teacher – Polyawkward

After the runaway success of bouncing single ‘R&B’, English Teacher return with their eerie, tongue-in-cheek debut EP ‘Polyawkward’.

Floating somewhere between post-punk and oblique poetry is English Teacher’s Lily Fontaine, the figurehead of an enchanting movement that marries her band mates love for spiralling avant-garde sensibilities with rhythmic stoicism. Known for their sideways yet breezy approach to songwriting, English Teacher’s latest is a flirtatious, auspicious debut that sees them tread familiar territory with a new-found wry smile.

Polyawkward appears to represent a form of urban guilt, where Fontaine exorcises an unhinged relationship with her surrounding concrete jungle, emphasising its subtleties and tamping down its obvious shortcomings. Pontificating about the solace and calm of IKEA and pub grub in the poetic ‘Yorkshire Tapas’, she is also quick to frame existentialism as a modish personality trait on ‘Mental Maths’, questioning “Who am I when I’m outside?” ad infinitum.

Title track ‘Polyawkward’ conjures the skittish lyrical imagery of Dry Cleaning with an eerie ferocity that only the rumbling toms and bobbing bass of English Teacher’s rhythm section could achieve. The EP implores the listener to actively engage and acknowledge the vast musical nuance in each track, evidenced on the balmy ‘A55’ that flits between ominous overture and quasi-clean guitar licks.

English Teacher is probably your favourite band’s favourite band by now, their off-kilter cadence and effortless relatability makes for an entrancing stage show that has seen them share audiences with Sports Team, and later this year, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. ‘Polyawkward’ is a christening for the Leeds experimentalists; a sprawling tour-de-force of their musical capabilities that although doesn’t deviate from previous material, accelerates their trajectory as the it band.

English Teacher – Polyawkward is out now via Nice Swan Records.

Issue Thirty-Seven is out now Ft. Porridge Radio, Crows, Folly Group, The Dinner Party, Automatic, Gently Tender, headboy and more. Buy in print here. Read the digital edition below.