By Sarah Taylor
On album opener ‘Being In Love’, Rhian Teasdale sings “I feel so uninspired” – Wet Leg’s debut is anything but that.
Never has a debut album been so highly anticipated since the release of Arctic Monkeys’ seminal Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Wet Leg may well rival this. Funnily enough, they’re signed to the same label, Domino. Their instant success with ear worm ‘Chaise Longue’, followed by a slew of equally cheeky and infectious tunes – ‘Wet Dream’, ‘Oh No’, ‘Angelica’ – has garnered the duo quite the following. Three sold-out UK headline tours and already making waves in the States with just a handful of familiar tracks is quite the feat.
Hailing from the Isle of Wight, friends Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers are a match made in music heaven. Their ability to deliver witty one-liners and memorable hooks over irresistible instrumentals has allowed them to go from strength to strength.
But if you’re looking for anything deep and meaningful, soulful, or soppy, you’ve come to the wrong place. Wet Leg demand you don’t take yourselves too seriously – they’re not! There’s a smattering of pop culture references (“I got Buffalo ’66 on DVD” and “Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?” come to mind – and crude quips (“You’re like a piece of shit you either sink or float”) to be found.
With six of the album’s 12 tracks already released, Wet Leg risked using up its best material and delivering disappointment. Fortunately, this is not the case as the hype surrounding the band is well and truly justified.
From the saccharine ‘Convincing’ to the stripped-down ‘Loving You’, the record’s non-singles shine. Chambers takes the lead vocal on the former, a welcome surprise. Meanwhile, the latter details a toxic relationship with Teasdale’s vocal almost a falsetto. And no matter how many times you’ve heard ‘Chaise Longue’ on alternative radio or your “indie” pal’s playlist, its repetitiveness doesn’t wear thin.
Recent single ‘Angelica’ is perfectly placed, with a melody that makes it impossible not to dance. A bit like Wolf Alice’s ‘Delicious Things’, Wet Leg turn down their suitors with an air of confidence and nonchalance (“I don’t wanna follow you on the gram / I don’t wanna listen to your band”). Their bouncy instrumentals contrast with the deadpan delivery (a la Dry Cleaning!).
‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’ lifts the instantly recognisable riff from David Bowie‘s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, as Teasdale sings the self-effacing “And now I’m almost 28 / Still getting off my stupid face.” Meanwhile ‘Supermarket’ recalls Pulp, with its fixation on the banality of everyday life. You see, Wet Leg can make the most mundane things interesting – funny, even.
Equally obscure visuals accompany each of the album’s six singles. ‘Wet Dream’ revels in rudeness whilst its music video sees the band cavorting in lobster-claws and ‘Oh No’, an ode to doom scrolling, they don yeti costumes made of mop heads. There’s a limerick-like quality to their lyrics, and the sort of wordplay you only get from Pavement’s ‘Harness Your Hopes.’ But at times they’re unintentionally empowering – see ‘Too Late Now’’s refrain of “I don’t need no dating app to tell me if I look like crap / To tell me if I’m thin or fat, to tell me should I shave my rat.”
Wet Leg have produced a collection of jaunty pop-rock tunes, with a folky tinge. The lyrics are sometimes simplistic (‘Oh No’), but always whimsical, with a hint of existential dread that surrounds the trials and tribulations of being in your twenties, perhaps best summarised in the piercing scream on latest single ‘Ur Mum.’
But it’s the duo’s silliness over seriousness approach which is what makes them so refreshing. Now how will they get on with their difficult second album?…
You can buy the album here.
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