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Not To Take Sides - Flying Nun Blog and Reviews

Album Review | Wet Leg - Wet Leg


Rachel Andie reviews British duo Wet Leg's debut self titled LP.
Album Review | Wet Leg - Wet Leg

by Rachel Andie

Rachel Andie - 鈴千瑠 - Flying Nun Shop. Rachel is a recent transplant to Wellington from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has been playing in the NZ music scene for the past few summers, going back and forth from Philly and Wellington since 2019; and has settled here permanently to continue her music career here in Aotearoa.


Wet Leg, the debut album of the eponymous band, has become an overnight sensation, charming audiences in the UK and beyond within days of its release. Released by Domino Recording Company in London on April 8th, 2022, the album has received high critical acclaim and has been excitedly shared by young and old, alternative and pop audiences alike. 

The band is comprised of British duo Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, and with help from their producer and keyboardist, Dan Carey (who's worked with Black Midi and Fontaines D.C), they've created a collection of 90s and 00s indie rock that is lush, riotous, catchy as heck, and layered with lyrics saturated with millennial disaffection, anxiety and overwhelm. 

The hype began in June 2021 when they released their debut single, “Chaise Longue”, which was an instant hit and went viral throughout the world. It became so popular that many wondered what else the two could have in store, and whether they could live up to the hype.

In 2019, the two were riding in a ferris wheel at the End of The Road Festival, in South Wiltshire, England, where they saw IDLES take the stage and captivate the crowd. It was at the very top of the wheel when they decided to make a band. We agreed on the premise of our band there and then: as long as you’re having fun, then everything will be alright,” says singer Teasdale. “And we’ve told ourselves that we’ll stick to that, always. 

They began Wet Leg a decade after they first met at The Isle of Wight College in Britain, where they both studied music. They had played in a few bands together, including their own solo projects which were more folk-leaning.

The two told On The Wight in December 2021 that they decided to name this new project by typing in random emoji characters, and ended up typing in the leg and water droplets emojis, which they coined Wet Leg.

They cultivated their five single releases just months apart leading up to the album release, generating all kinds of anticipation. They had only played four gigs prior to lockdown, three of those being for their friends and family back home, and made their debut live performance at Latitude Festival in Suffolk, England.

The pair’s deadpan tongue-in-cheek mockery of everyday life for a twenty-something is instantly relatable, even grabbing the older audiences by letting them relive the silly moments when you’re figuring everything out on your own. Witty and unapologetic, the duo bring out the fun and brutal truths of their stage in life. 

Their diversity within the songs contrasting with the continuous storyline brings an undeniable release of emotion. From irritable exes, to growing up in a virtual world, the two really capture the essence of a confused-but-honest young adult in the midst of a quarter-life crisis.

Photograph by Ed Miles

The first song on the LP, “Being In Love”, describes the gut-wrenching excitement of realising you’re falling in love. A four on the floor bass drum starts the tune, and Rhian sings “I lost my appetite/I cannot sleep at night/I cannot concentrate/I do not feel too great/The world is caving in/And I'm kinda struggling/But I kinda like it/'Cause it feels like being in love”. Then it drops right into the head banging pop rock they’ve become well known for in their first few singles.

Chaise Longue”, the best-known song of the album, continues to shine but blends well with the other songs. They sing a deadpan line from the movie Mean Girls, where “Skeezy” Jason mocks Lindsay Lohan by asking “Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?” In the next verse they use the same voice to say “Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?” They sink right into the heavy instrumental pre-choruses from the calm speech of the verses and continue the pattern of relaxation and grittiness all in one song.

Angelica” is reminiscent of 90’s pop punk-rock, talking of hating the ongoings at a party. It is rich with put-downs and snarky comments. “I don’t wanna follow you on the ’Gram/I don’t wanna listen to your band,” she sighs. It reminded me of Avril Lavigne with the way she takes the piss out of what is popular. 

I Don’t Wanna Go Out” is the first breather on the album, starting out with clean acoustic guitars, then surprising you with a tribute to the guitar line from David Bowie’sThe Man Who Sold the World”. They sing about the urge to cancel plans and wanting to stay in - a feeling many of us know well. “It used to be so fun/Now everything just feels dumb/I wish I could care/And now I'm almost 28/still getting off my stupid face” It continues disinterestedly, then turns into a conversation - “I heard that you started a band/I heard that you moved to LA/are you gonna stay young forever? You said "Yeah" and I just walk away”. That conversation brings in a personal touch of the feeling of disinterest in what seems impractical.

The bouncy chorus to “Wet Dream” sounds like one of those upbeat songs that would be played during an old ad for a cell phone plan. It’s a drole one with the refrain “What makes you think you’re good enough to think about me when you’re touching yourself”.

My favourite song on the album is “Convincing”. You can hear a lot of their creative side, and they explore stylistically more than most of their other songs. This one features Hester’s voice as the main vocal and an iconic bass line carrying the verses.

Loving You” starts out with a drum machine, with the girls singing at a higher register than what you’ve heard previously in the album. With a fun “lalalala” they sing “I don’t wanna have to be friends/I don’t wanna pretend/I don’t wanna meet your girlfriend/I hope you choke on your girlfriend”. Then an accordion joins in for the second verse that compliments the cynical romantic tune nicely.

Ur Mum” is a tribute to dissing an ex. “I don’t want you to want me/I need you to forget me/Yeah I loved you, that was crazy/Cause you just don’t motivate me”. It has a catchy sing-along following the lead guitar line. Then Rhian says softly “Okay I’ve been practising my longest and loudest scream” then proceeds to let out a nine second yell that brings cathartic joy to us punks, as if we’re letting the scream out ourselves.

Oh No” is a song about how oversaturated with content we are living in a digital age. “I checked my phone/And now I'm inside it/Suck the life/From my eyes/It feels nice/I'm scrolling, I'm scrolling” they sing. The way Wet Leg expresses that feeling of defeat is deeply relatable and purgative.

Too Late Now” finishes the album with a relaxing tune that brings a feeling of conclusion. Through Rhian’s word-vomit you feel as though you’re following her recurring thoughts on a restless night. It ends with a line that captures their humour so well: “I just need a bubble bath to set me on a higher path”.

Wet Leg is a band you’d see at a rock show that could also be enjoyed by a pop audience with just how catchy the guitar rhythms are. That they could tour with Harry Styles, the former singer in One Direction, is a testament to that fact that their music can span all types of genres and not feel disruptant. They’ve written the kind of songs you can’t help but tap a foot to or nod along with your head. It’s nice to see the support for women with a sharp and honest tongue without being questioned about whether they’re “polite” or “appropriate” enough.

Wet Leg have set a name for themselves throughout the world already within their debut LP release, and I think this album is sure to impress critics who may have thought their single would be a one hit wonder. Their rise to fame, which has taken the whole band by surprise, has been sudden and exponential. It’ll be exciting to see where they will go next and what other kinds of music they may release down the line. 

 

Wet Leg - Wet Leg LP

 

TRACKLIST

01 Being in Love
02 Chaise Longue
03 Angelica
04 I Don’t Wanna Go Out
05 Wet Dream
06 Convincing
07 Loving You
08 Ur Mum
09 Oh No
10 Piece of Shit
11 Supermarket
12 Too Late Now

 

You can purchase the album here via the Flying Nun Record Shop. 

 

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