Text: Jaap van Hamond
It’s been a long time since there was such hype around a debut album as that of British indie rock duo Wet Leg. And although the album is full of imperturbable hooks, hilarious lyrics and entertaining song writing, the image the two paint of themselves is somewhat vague.
Wet Leg, made up of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, hail from the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England, where despite the village culture there is a lively music scene including the Isle of Wight Festival (aka ‘the English Woodstock’). Debut single ‘Chaise Longue’ arrived in 2021 and claimed viral attention through absurd lyrics (“Is your mother worried? Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?”) sung dryly by Teasdale, with a fierce instrumental underneath. Several singles followed and now an album, titled after the band itself. And for the most part, it continues what was promised in the singles: simple but highly entertaining indie rock with a touch of post-punk revivalism. Influential band Pavement comes to mind, but Wet Leg manages to stand on its own because of the unlikely union between the absurd and the recognisable. Self-denial, annoying exes, mid-20s unrest, all familiar subjects but Wet Leg give it their own sarcastic twist: ‘The world is caving in, and I’m kinda struggling, I kinda like it cause it feels like being in love’, is how it sounds on opener ‘Being in Love’.
Although ‘Wet Leg’ does not come across as insincere for a second, sometimes a bit of identity is missing. Take the long scream at the end of ‘Ur Mum’, which could have been a true outburst (a la ‘I Know The End’ from Phoebe Bridgers’) but instead lingers obediently at the bottom of the mix. It raises the question of who Teasdale and Chambers are behind the witty lyrics, catchy guitar melodies and tight drums.
None of this takes away from the fact that Wet Leg is simply fun to listen to. They are casual in their cheekiness, skilled in their playing, and effective in their song writing. Now we just have to hope that on future work they have their backs turned a little less than on the cover.
Label: Domino Recording Company