With its swirling instrumentals and mundane yet cryptic lyrics, this is English Teacher – and Speedy – at their best.
English Teacher are smitten on ‘Song About Love’, produced in collaboration with Dan Carey at Speedy Wunderground HQ. Lyricist Lily Fontaine toes the line somewhere between post-punk and cryptic poetry. As a whole, the alluring outfit mix an affinity for spinning avant-garde notions with rhythmic grounding, surely a sure-fire pairing for some magic.
Beginning on a calmer level, we are met with a thrusting repeated bass note. Grounded by instrumentation, Fontaine steps up to the mic with a tuneful yet spoken lyrical delivery reminiscent of some of Dry Cleaning’s rambling poems. The sharp metronomic guitar notes punctuate the instrumental mist before being chased by an upbeat but truncated riff.
The band toy with the theme of tedium in every layer of music, pulling back to dabble in sparsity. The Leeds outfit has always had a flair for establishing a mood between words and synthesizer sounds. They know how to build to a cathartic climax, while keeping one eye on mundane details of life and the most elemental tones available to them.
The band’s combination of complexity and immediacy lends itself to Carey’s production style. His 48-hour production process and ability to draw out the natural edge of a song shines through here as English Teacher shift and evolve the song across its four minutes.
‘Song About Love’ ends in a crescendo that brings all of its components together. The line “love, love, love” ties it all together, repeated until the song spills to its natural conclusion. This short burst captures English Teacher at their best. They are nuanced yet tongue in cheek, offering a modern take on the dull tenderness the heart grasps for.