Wet Leg – Wet Leg

An exceptional debut album...

Wet Leg’s self-titled LP is the most infectious, alluring, irresistible, and downright fun debut record that’s come our way in a long, long time. An album that fully cements their rise, it places the Isle of Wight duo – Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chamber – at the centre of a vortex that moves through their 20s, encompassing that post-graduation lull, boring sex, shitty ex’s, and gnawing self-worth issues. Easy on the ear and fantastically pop-centric, Wet Leg match this with a host of tenacious ideas, moving from half-inching Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ riff to a sly Mean Girls reference.  

‘Chaise Longue’ kicked it all off, and it remains as riveting, perplexing, and addictive as the first time we heard it. The half-spoken lyrics tumble out of the stereo – “excuse me?” – leading to post-punk comparison points, with Wet Leg often aligned against groups such as Yard Act, say. Taken a whole, however, their debut album proves this to be reductive – they’ve got more in common with Jarvis Cocker and Franz Ferdinand – or the songwriting, but not the actual sound, of Pet Shop Boys – sitting in that vein of artful British pop, renewing older ideas by viewing them from fresh perspectives.

Indeed, album highlight ‘Anjelica’ isn’t a post-punk song at all – the nagging guitar riff nods towards vibrant ’67 psych-pop, while the oh-so-cute vocal could sit on a Sarah Records 45. As mystifying as some of the in-jokes can be, the album is often staggeringly blunt – witness the rubbish boyfriend diss ‘Ur Mum’ or the self-explanatory ‘Piece Of Shit’, which blends Breeders-esque guitar pop with the hazy glow of 2k22 production.

A staggering effective 12 shot volley, Wet Leg’s debut album scarcely lets the pace drop. ‘Wet Dream’ teases out the psychology behind a “just thinking of you…” text, while ‘Loving You’ drops the angular guitars and the neat lyrical about-turns for something rather more heart-on-sleeve, but no less effective. An album that often wraps it emotions in self-effacing humour and oblique reference points, Wet Leg end their debut with the sparkling ‘Too Late Now’, in which spacious production – if anything it’s more Explosions In The Sky post-rock than the dry intensity of post-punk – blends with endless self-questioning, each spark of introversion piled up on the next. To cite another psychedelic reference, it’s akin to the implosion of Syd Barrett on the Pink Floyd’s ‘Jugband Blues; “I’m not sure if this the kind of life that I see myself leading…”

Refreshing and totally natural, it’s been curious to watch a nascent backlash form against Wet Leg. TikTok – a hub for cynicism and trolls – has dubbed them an ‘industry plant’, and this framework has begun to seep into the music press. Looking online, some question the duo’s standout styling, as if wearing half-decent clothes was such a character flaw. Yes, their rise has been sudden, but some groups really are that good. Put aside your cynicism, and dial into the fireworks: ‘Wet Leg’ is an exceptional debut album.


Words: Robin Murray

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