Leeds band English Teacher came blasting onto our radar earlier this year with the cutting “R&B”, and today they follow it up with the b-side (which does not mean it is any lesser in quality), “Wallace”. Introducing the track, singer Lily Fontaine says:
“‘Wallace’ is an apocalyptic monologue about what happens when people listen to Wallace Hartley, the band-leader of the Titanic, as a distraction to the sinking of the ship. Born in my hometown, his name is stretched across the door of our local Wetherspoons – thinking about the irony of this got me wrapped up in how the metaphor perfectly expressed my feelings towards the political leanings of the area and the general rise of the right-wing in modern England.”
A truly epic display of both musical intelligence and outstanding character, “Wallace” seems impossibly accomplished for a band who only played their first gig in the last few months. Fontaine begins as she means to continue, immediately proposing “The two things you should always bring up in public: religion and politics.” She rants on from there in the vain of some half-cut preacher standing on the bar and sermonising to the whole pub, while the band undercut it with tension-heightening post-punk.
Fontaine then switches perspective, coldly quizzing “when the ice has melted, what’s the plan?” She continues commenting on the ills of society as on display daily in your local Wetherspoons, her voice commanding over English Teacher’s undulating waves of noise, impassively watching as the world sinks into the abyss. Then, they pivot “Wallace” into a violin-led lament of “Nearer My God To Thee”, evoking the very moments when the Titanic was sinking and the band kept on playing, Fontaine dispassionately singing about how she enjoys the irony. English Teacher then veer the song back around for a final minute of stormy rock, just to put a fine point on this impressive piece.
Listen to “Wallace” below or on your preferred platform.
“Wallace” is out now on Nice Swan. You can find English Teacher on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.