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Wet Leg
s/t Ed Power , April 15th, 2022 08:42

Wet Leg may be lugging around a big sack of buzz right now, but don't let that spoil the fun, says Ed Power

Funny, weird, irreverent, a bit messy in places, Wet Leg’s debut feels like a rollicking night out at your local indie disco compacted into thirty-six brisk and breezy minutes. Across a dozen by turns funny and fraught tracks, the highs and lows of twenty-something life are captured with zinging joie de vivre. There is heartache and humour, fortified by a sharply-drawn sense of sisterhood and an us-against-the-world camaraderie.

The best friends behind this alt pop behemoth are Isle of Wight natives Rhian Teasdale (vocalists, rhythm guitar) and Hester Chambers (lead guitar, backing vocals). And, as with all great duos, they are a study in contrasts and contradictions. With her assertive singing and electrifying wryness (“you’re so woke / Diet Coke,” she deadpans on ‘Oh No’) Teasdale is the big personality dominating the project.

But the secret ingredient is Chambers, a wallflower with laser-beam eyes. She is the ghost haunting Wet Leg’s June 2020 break-out single, ‘Chaise Longue’. Hovering in the background she nonetheless gets the best line – that teasing, whispered “whaat?” reply to Teasdale's “excuse me?” refrain mid-song. Enigmatic as anything, she injects mystery into a tune that, with its lyrics about muffins and back-stage furniture, isn’t afraid to dive into free-form absurdity (Wet Leg wrote ‘Chaise Longue’ for a lark and have swatted away attempts to ascribe deeper meanings to it).

Wet Leg are such hot property we’ve had to revive the antediluvian concept of the ‘buzz band’ – with the unstated implication they might just be flavour of the hour and could well be gone and forgotten a year from now. They are certainly the right project at the right time, arriving as the world emerges, blinking, and with a degree of uncertainty, from the deep freeze of lockdown.

That their bushy-tailed guitar pop is exactly what we need as 2022 gets unsteadily to its feet is beyond dispute. And yet Wet Leg – produced by Kae Tempest / Fontaines DC collaborator Dan Carey – also casts a knowing eye towards the indie rock hall of fame. The surrealistic wit of early Pixies is evoked in ‘Wet Dream’, with its roll-call of life’s mundanities and trivialities (“I’ve got Buffalo 66 on DVD”). And on ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’ Chambers conjures with the spirit of Nirvana’s Unplugged cover of ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ and its cascading central riff.

Teasdale and Chambers have expressed surprise at the fervour with which Wet Leg have been received. And while their music is, at the surface level, supremely catchy, there are other qualities to latch on to, too. Wet Leg at various points serves as a treatise on female friendship (placing it along the same continuum as new records by Lucius and Let’s Eat Grandma) and a Roy Keane-tackle of a break-up album (“I don't wanna have to pretend / I don’t wanna meet your girlfriend,” Teasdale half coos/half snarls on ‘Loving You’). All that being said, sometimes the most obvious explanation is the best. And, as their irrepressible debut LP confirms, the secret to Wet Leg’s overnight rise is ultimately that they're simply tremendous fun to be around.