Wet Leg: Wet Leg (Domino) - review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, July 7th, 2022  

Wet Leg

Wet Leg

Domino

Apr 07, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Had Peter Parker (of Spider-Man fame) eschewed photography (or superheroing) to pursue a career as a musician, his wise old Uncle Ben might have adjusted his advice accordingly to “with great hype comes great expectation.” There’s no denying that UK band Wet Leg—formed and fronted by Isle of Wight musicians Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers—have had an inordinate amount of buzz thrust upon them after the release of their addictive lockdown busting debut single “Chaise Lounge.”

In some ways, their vertical take-off has followed a similar trajectory to Lana Del Rey’s, an artist who seemingly arrived fully formed with the sublime “Video Games,” her 2012 debut single. She was everywhere and then came “the backlash,” as Del Rey’s dizzying ascent endured the sort of scrutiny that many of her male counterparts are rarely subject to. This is something Teasdale is fully aware of, after all, Wet Leg isn’t her first time at the rodeo, with both women having plied their trade in other musical projects prior to Wet Leg. “Wet Leg was originally just supposed to be funny,” says Teasdale. “As a woman, there’s so much put on you, in that your only value is how pretty or cool you look.”

In some quarters, their rapid rise seems to have annoyed a certain type of conspiratorial music fan who resented the fact that two affable young women were being vaunted as saviors of indie guitar music. They questioned Wet Leg’s “authenticity” and accused them of being “industry plants,” which is a view seemingly fuelled by a performative self-righteous ideological purity. Indeed the whole “industry plant” hypothesis has become increasingly misogynist as well as being just plain dumb, as UK artist and Wet Leg touring partner Declan McKenna noted in a tweet that “‘industry plant’ truthers are getting like flat earth for the TikTok gen.”

All of the above would have had zero effect on Wet Leg’s debut album given that it had been already been recorded back in April 2021 with Dan Carey, free from the burden of hype-induced expectation and scrutiny and long before “Chaise Longue” had been unleashed upon the world. Besides it’s not as if Teasdale or Chambers had ever seriously claimed to be the saviors of indie music or particularly identified as a post-punk band.

Ask them just what it is that they wanted to do and Teasdale explains: “We want to be goofy and a little bit rude. We want to write songs that people can dance to. And we want people to have a good time, even if that might not possible all of the time.” And that’s exactly what they did. Their debut is packed with a sense of playful fun, deadpan humour, soaring melodies, off-kilter pop, hilariously caustic lyrics, and more takedowns of exes than a Taylor Swift breakup themed triple album. In short, it genuinely does live up to the hype. It’s also an album that should disabuse people of the view that Wet Leg are one-trick ponies based on one song about a French sofa. It’s fun and frenetic, but it’s also musically astute and varied, replete with some surprising stylistic shifts in tones and texture.

The album opens with “Being In Love,” a gloriously wonky pop song with hints of Roxy Music’s off-kilter art-pop and throughout the album you realise that Josh Mobaraki’s Theremin-like synth flourishes are an integral part of the overall Wet Leg sound. “Chaise Longue” mixes deadpan ennui with a euphoric guitar rush but it’s not all upbeat tongue in cheek high jinks. “I Don’t Wanna Go Out” is laced with a wistful sense of melancholia as Teasdale laments, “Now I’m almost 28/Still getting off my stupid face/Fucking nightmare,” whist “Convincing” sees Chambers taking the vocal lead with a hypnotic slice of cascading psych folk-pop. It’s perhaps the one song on the album that is played with a relatively straight bat. “Loving You” juxtaposes a gorgeous melodic beauty with lyrics that don’t beat about the bush. “You say you think about me in the midnight hour/I know that you’re just rubbing one out up in the shower,” intones Teasdale before addressing the pain of putting on a brave public face when a former lover begins a new relationship with “I don’t want to have to stay friends/I don’t want to have to pretend/I don’t wanna meet your girlfriend” before the damning dénouement—“Hope you’re choking on your girlfriend/When she calls 999, they cut the line…on you.”

“Piece of Shit” sees Teasdale warming to the theme of execrable exes and delivers the iron fist in a velvet glove with, “Well, if you were better to me then maybe I’d consider fucking you goodbye,” before gently crooning, “You’re like a piece of shit/You either sink or float.”

Wet Leg excel when they are at their irreverent best such as on previous single “Wet Dream,” an empowering piece of ridiculously catchy pop and a trenchant ode to an ex’s onanism, as Teasdale mocks “What makes you think you’re good enough/To think about me when you’re touching yourself? “UR Mum” continues in a similarly scathing vein, “When I think about what you’ve become/I feel sorry for your mum.” Meanwhile, “Supermarket” highlights some of the more unusual “deals” available at your local convenience store.

Long before the album closes in some style with the soaring crescendo of “Too Late Now” it’s clear that Wet Leg have more than delivered on their early promise. It’s also apparent to anybody with an open mind and ears that they have the legs to carry on crafting melodically uplifting idiosyncratic earworms for as long as it remains fun. Long may they continue to irk the purists and cause the myopic “authenticity police” to shake their fists at clouds in a state of puce faced apoplexy whilst the rest of us simply enjoy the ride. (www.wetlegband.com)

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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