Wet Leg – ‘Wet Leg’ review: an instant classic debut that justifies the hype

The Isle of Wight duo's debut is a witty and warm romp through the chaos of your mid-twenties

No other debut album this year will arrive on such a wave of anticipation as Wet Leg’s self-titled LP. Since the Isle Of Wight duo – singers and guitarists Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers – had a viral breakthrough with the brilliant absurdity of ‘Chaise Longue’ last summer, they’ve been whipped away on a dizzying ascent that, so far, has yet to slow down. Each day seems to only add to its momentum – be that through new singles, TV performances, or rafts of gigs sold out and upgraded venues – like a turbo-speed rollercoaster powered by rocket fuel.

Their first album isn’t about to put the brakes on that trajectory. A thrilling record, it adds new attractions to the Wet Leg carnival while revisiting those that made everyone fall so immediately in love with them in the first place. Written and recorded in April 2021 – before anyone except their friends and label Domino Records [Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand] knew the band existed – it’s unburdened by the sudden success of ‘Chaise Longue’; a pure representation of two musicians writing songs for the fun of it and accidentally coming up with indie’s newest instant classic album.

Part of the appeal of the pair’s debut single was its silliness and humour and those are qualities that crop up across the record. On the tipsy ‘Angelica’, they portray a house party they don’t really want to be at, first finding themselves stuck in a loop of discontent and intoxication, before breaking free into their imaginations. “Angelica, she brought her ray-gun to the party / Angelica obliterated everybody,” Teasdale sings as Chambers makes “pew-pew” sound effects in the background. Previous singles ‘Wet Dream’ (a Le Tigre-like dancefloor banger) and ‘Oh No’ (all stop-start guitars and polished stomp) take us inside an ex’s post-break-up fantasies and into the dopamine hit-and-crash of a 3am doom-scroll. “You climb onto the bonnet and you’re licking the windscreen / I’ve never seen anything so obscene,” Teasdale vividly and wryly narrates of the former.

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When it’s not giddily racking up funny oddities, ‘Wet Leg’ is taking stock of adult life when you’re not quite where you want – or feel like you should – be. Sometimes they manifest in mellower, more melancholy moments, as on ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’, which features a sorrowful riff similar to that in David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’. “Now I’m almost 28 / Still getting off my stupid face / Fucking nightmare,” sighs Teasdale, later throwing in some very bleak optimism to the mix. “At least we are all going to die,” she shrugs. The windswept, ethereal ‘Convincing’, is led by Chambers and finds her in a rut of sadness, not ready to start digging herself out. “When the sky is blue / Do you feel it too?” she asks, before admitting: “When the sky is grey / Yeah, I feel the same.”

At other times, though, Wet Leg share their perspective through songs that offer a solution, like the chiming, expansive ‘Too Late Now’. After rattling through a spoken word verse that ponders “if this is the kind of life I saw myself living”, Teasdale declares: “I just need a bubble bath to set me on a higher path.” If that still doesn’t work, there’s always another option: drive your car into the sea. “Down we go, we’re holding hands / If I fuck this up, I’m taking you down with me,” she sings matter-of-factly, like a quarter-life crisis take on Thelma & Louise.

The band have quickly become known for their sense of humour and for each sad moment that occurs on their debut, a sardonic lyric quickly chases it. On the gentle falsetto pop of ‘Loving You’, Teasdale details the breakdown of a relationship and the painful aftermath of seeing an ex moving on with someone else. “I don’t wanna meet your girlfriend / Hope you’re choking on your girlfriend,” she sings, before imagining a dark moment of revenge: “When she calls 999, they cut the line on you.” The folk-tinged ‘Piece Of Shit’ compares a full-of-themselves partner to excrement in the toilet bowl (“You say you’re a genius, I say you must be joking / You’re like a piece of shit, you either sink or float”), while the bouncy ‘Ur Mum’ opens with the withering put-down “When I think about what you’ve become / I feel sorry for your mum.”

Wet Leg began life while Teasdale and Chambers were riding a Ferris wheel at a festival, where the pair decided to give music another chance; fittingly, their debut album feels like a giddy race around a funfair, those pesky lows batted away with wit and wisecracks like a game of verbal whack-a-mole. It rushes with liberating, infectious joy that makes you want to grab your own partner-in-crime and speed off on an adventure to find somewhere that’s, as ‘Angelica’s mantra suggests, is “good times all the time”. With Wet Leg as your soundtrack, it seems inevitable you’ll find that place.

Details

Wet Leg album artwork

  • Release date: April 8
  • Record label: Domino Records
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