Wet Leg already has a significant amount of hype riding on their debut self-titled album. The band exploded onto the indie rock scene with their single “Chaise Longue” in the summer of 2021 when the UK was still under pandemic lockdown. Their carefree vocals and lyrics about spending all day as a couch potato resonated with audiences by briefly taking their minds off the general anxieties of the world. Adding in some sexual innuendos, “I went to school and I got the big D”, and Mean Girls references, “Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?”, made the track hit millions of streams shortly after its release. The viral music video sees band members Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers in prairie-style dresses dancing and lounging around in a charming DIY aesthetic.
Even before “Chaise Longue”, the band released a set of demos on Soundcloud, leading them to sign with Domino Records, a major indie label representing the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Animal Collective. By the end of 2021, the duo were making appearances on late-night television and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. However, this relatively instant success brought about skepticism. Was the band only working on a gimmick? Were the songs even good or were audiences simply enamored with their slacker attitude and random, non-sequitur lyrics? Or possibly even worse, was their style completely calculated with the aim of getting memed and shared on social media platforms?
The songs mostly disregard these worries. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Teasdale said, “Someone once told me, ‘You need to trust your own bad taste.’ From the word go, we made sure to do that with Wet Leg.” Through their music, the duo sounds like they simply want to have fun. The band seems to be unafraid of judgment as the songs are not meant to be taken too seriously. In the current indie rock world of Phoebe Bridgers and Mitski, artists, especially women, are expected to be emotionally vulnerable and sincere about their experiences. In this sense, Wet Leg contradicts this trend by presenting more of a throwback to punk and New Wave acts of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s who wrote and performed “dumb” songs. Comical lyrics like “You’re so woke / Diet Coke / I feel gross” from the track “Oh No” exemplify this type of writing.
Wet Leg’s second single, “Wet Dream”, follows a similar tone to “Chaise Longue”. The track is a breakup song and came about when one of Teasdale’s exes texted her about dreaming of her after their breakup. It’s a playful dig at partners who act like they are in touch with their feelings in order to start or keep relationships going. “What makes you think you’re good enough / To think about me when you’re touching yourself?” Sonically, “Wet Dream” is representative of the ‘00s indie rock influences spread throughout the album. Wet Leg pairs a driving guitar riff with steady percussion while the instrumentation intensifies with the chorus and mostly relies on bass and drums on the verses. The song also has a catchy hook that carries it through to its conclusion.
These hooks are easy to sing along with and in addition to the witty lyrics, serve as the major attraction to the 12-song tracklist. However, most of the instrumentation consists of average and conventional ‘00s indie rock. This makes many of the songs sound the same, especially as the album gets to its latter stages. The song structures also remain similar as most tracks have choruses that tend to open in the first minute. Even songs with strong, alternative hooks like “Piece of Shit” suffer from these issues. “Loving You” is the one exception to this trend. It’s a mournful track about a failed relationship that had turned toxic. The sound mirrors this feeling as it takes a slower and more minimal approach and sees Teasdale singing at the top end of her vocal range. Including more songs like this would help improve the diversity of the tracklist.
Thankfully, these faults are not significant enough to harm the overall enjoyment of the album. The band’s easygoing nature serves the tracks well and prevents the tendency to overanalyze and nitpick. As a debut, Wet Leg’s self-titled album shows a lot of promise and will certainly have listeners looking forward to their live shows and anything they come out with next.