Wet Leg is the indie rock duo consisting of lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Rhian Teasdale and backing vocalist/lead guitarist Hester Chambers. The two women met at Isle of Wight College in England but didn’t officially form a band until nearly a decade later in 2019. After Wet Leg’s cheeky, innuendo-infused viral single, “Chaise Longue”, garnered them overwhelmingly positive notices and post-punk cred, expectations were set high in anticipation for their debut studio album.
If you’d thought the lyrics to “Chaise Longue” offered insight into Teasdale and Chambers’ tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, the pair flip the script entirely on their self-titled full-length’s opening number. Instead of deadpan humor and disingenuous witticisms, the lyrics to “Being in Love” read like a sincere account of the irresistible terror and strange wonder of lovesick adoration. Musically, the song chugs along pleasantly enough, but it’s the unforeseen honesty that instantly transforms one’s perception of Wet Leg as smartass goofballs into sensitive individuals with fragile emotions.
“Chaise Longue” arrives predictably in the sequence. Given the song’s popularity in advance of its inclusion, you’d expect it somewhere on the album’s first half. What’s left to say about this song that hasn’t already been said? Minimalist upbeat bass and drums drive through as Teasdale quips, “Is your mother worried? Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?” The song is an undeniable standout that manages to amazingly be simultaneously funny and cool, a tough combination to get right.
Wet Leg stretch themselves stylistically on “Angelica” and “I Don’t Wanna Go Out”, showing off a neo-psych tendency complete with fantastical lyrics that never completely abandon zoomer tropes. Wet Leg’s second single, “Wet Dream”, arrives just before the album’s halfway point. While not nearly as catchy as “Chaise Longue”, the song does provide a lyrical narrative in keeping with its title in addition to an unexpected pop culture throwback reference to Buffalo ’66 on DVD no less.
Side B opens with “Loving You”, another sentimental moment both musically and lyrically that manages to work exceptionally well. Here, over a simple three-chord melody, Teasdale sings to a former lover in a delicate falsetto lines like, “Don’t call me up, you fucked it up, I’m not your pal.” If there’s a third single to be found on Wet Leg’s debut, it’s “Ur Mum”. With its catchy pre-chorus and hilarious bridge in which Rhian says, “Okay, I’ve been practicing my longest and loudest scream,” before demonstrating it, the song makes for a nice late sequence pick-me-up. Wet Leg’s self-titled record is concluded with “Too Late Now”, a song that manages to pull together all the duo’s strengths. From its post-punk bass and drums opening to its rapid-fire sing-speak portions, the song puts a nice bow on the entire package.
It would be hard to imagine a band sustaining a career based on one drily humorous song without being considered a novelty act. When was the last time you heard anything by Ylvis, the Norwegian comedy duo who had a viral hit in 2013 with “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)”? Still, it’s not unheard of for a group to use a quirky debut single as a springboard into a successful career. After all, Weezer proved they had more to offer than “Undone (The Sweater Song)”. Why not Wet Leg?