Wet Leg on Their Self-Titled Debut Album | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, May 26th, 2024  

Wet Leg on Their Self-Titled Debut Album

Wet Dreams with Dry Humor

Apr 08, 2022 Issue #69 - 20th Anniversary Issue Photography by Hollie Fernando Bookmark and Share

Wet Leg, seemingly out of nowhere, gatecrashed 2021 when their hypnotic debut single, “Chaise Longue” (which at the time of writing has over 13 million streams on Spotify, with its video logging over three-and-a-half million YouTube views), became a cult underground smash. The follow-up, the equally enigmatic “Wet Dream,” consolidated Wet Leg’s position as one of the most exciting new bands to emerge from the UK in recent years.

Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, who both hail from The Isle of Wight, dreamt up the idea for Wet Leg after an idyllic summer spent at music festivals. Teasdale, who previously performed ethereal folk-tinged music, takes up the story. “Those festivals gave us the idea of what we wanted to do musically and also what we didn’t want to do,” she says. “A lot of our friends were in bands and you could see them taking it really seriously because they wanted it so, so much. But that can often take all the fun out of it. I decided to stop doing solo work because I simply wasn’t enjoying it. But when so much of your identity is entangled with this thing you’ve been doing I didn’t quite feel ready to give up music completely. I wanted to start something with Hester that was fun. And so we vowed never to take ourselves as seriously as some people we could mention.”

Wet Leg’s tongue in cheek wit was firmly on display on “Chaise Longue.” Fittingly the track was inspired by Chambers’ grandfather’s chaise longue. “Rhian actually wrote all the lyrics to ‘Chaise Longue’ sitting on the chaise longue,” explains Chambers.

They have both been completely blown away by how the song has resonated with people. “It’s been a lovely surprise,” enthuses Chambers.

“It’s also been bizarre,” laughs Teasdale. “It was probably even weirder as it blew up just as lockdown was lifting. There had been nice things written on the internet but it didn’t become tangible until we played the Latitude festival and the tent was packed!”

Chambers agrees: “Initially we wondered if anybody would turn up? Would it just be one man and his Wellies?” It was also the first time Wet Leg had played together with their current live line-up featuring fellow Isle of Wight musicians Ellis Durand, Henry Holmes, and Josh Mobaraki. “It was when people started singing the lyrics back,” Teasdale explains with a degree of incredulity, “that I just looked over at Hester and thought, ‘This is completely mad!’”

Since then Wet Leg has bagged high profile support slots playing much bigger venues than they may have anticipated. “I suppose there’s an element of being thrown in at the deep end but it’s a very cushy deep end,” Teasdale admits. “We were so lucky to get them and everybody was lovely, which I can imagine isn’t always the case. We’d only played four gigs before we signed to Domino so the size of the venue didn’t matter at this stage because any size gig would be scary!”

During lockdown Wet Leg had plenty of time to shoot and edit a video to accompany “Chaise Longue,” which introduced a very Wet Leg visual aesthetic and is full of tongue in cheek energy featuring Chambers and Teasdale dressed like escapees from M. Night Shyamalan’s much underrated 2004 movie, The Village. “That’s a great movie and I do like my garments,” says Teasdale laughing and affecting an uncannily accurate Somerset accent. But now the band are so busy they have had to give over some creative control. Teasdale admits that it was difficult to relinquish that oversight on their follow up video for “Wet Dream,” which has them dressed up again whilst wearing fake lobster claws (“There’s no hidden message with the claws,” laughs Teasdale, “we had them lying around and we thought it would be fun to use them”). “I felt terrible when we got the first edit back, because people had obviously worked hard on it, but it just wasn’t right. Letting go of that side of things is hard, however…” Teasdale says, before pausing and laughing, “we didn’t actually let go, they probably wished we had! I still plan to be involved on the video side as much as possible as it can be just as important as the music.”

Given the movie references (Buffalo 66 is mentioned on “Wet Dream” and “Chaise Longue” lifts lines from Mean Girls), you might think that Teasdale and Chambers are huge cinephiles. “We’re not really movie buffs,” admits Teasdale, “but we do religiously watch Mean Girls on repeat, Peep Show on repeat, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and X Files on repeat, oh and Lord of the Rings on repeat—because that’s all you need, isn’t it?”

Teasdale’s reaction to the acclaim ranges from delight to baffled amusement but she remains endearingly down to earth. “Maybe we could do with lifting our feet off the ground a little bit more!” she laughs. “I can’t believe we are going to America! Who are these people buying our tickets? It’s amazing.”

With a self-titled debut album then rumored to be scheduled for spring 2022 (“that is indeed the rumor,” Teasdale laughs, “which I can neither confirm nor deny”), but since confirmed for an April release (in fact it’s out today on Domino), Wet Leg’s beguiling blend of post-punk, driving guitars, surreal humor, and acerbic put downs have certainly struck a chord with music fans. It seems their ascent has only just begun.

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 69 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, our 20th Anniversary Issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.]


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