Leeds band English Teacher have had quite a year with the signing to Island Records and a series of raucous gigs. They’ve also had a string of quality singles, which is capped off by today’s new offering “Mastermind Specialism”. About the song, vocalist Lily Fontaine stated:
“Decision paralysis is an ache that has murmured in me through sitting on smaller fences, through to questioning my theology, my sexuality, my career and so on. Watching Jaco Van Dormael’s incredible sci-fi/fantasy Mr Nobody put the cause and effect of this issue into perspective; my life has been consistent in its inconsistency. 12 different houses across the country and mixed-race I’ve always been a bit in-between and I think that’s where this song, and a lot of the songs we’re due to release, come from.”
Whereas the quartet’s singles to date have largely been sharp and muscular pot-punk jams, “Mastermind Specialism” instead sees them flex their abilities at subtle composition. It’s based around quiet acoustic guitar and tender piano keys, which help Fontaine to unravel the indecision that has mounted in her mind. As she weaves her way through various mental distractions, English Teacher layer in humming, violins and field recordings, adding a delicious depth to the piece. Her mind might not be any clearer, but by the end English Teacher make it sound as if she’s more at peace with all the uncertainty.