Wet Leg prove they’re not all fur coat on debut album

For Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg, it’s been a marvellous twelve months to say the least.

Their first-ever musical release, the single ‘Chaise Longue’, ended 2021 with over seven million streams on Spotify and was selected by several artists as their song of the year.

Following up with the even steamier post-punk hit ‘Wet Dream’ later in the year, vocalist Rhian Teasdale and guitarist Hester Chambers had indie fans frothing for an entire album of their unique musical content.

Four further singles were released prior to their self-titled debut album dropping this week, but rather than hindering excitement, it has only boosted the hype.

There was a simple reason for excitement prior to this release.

Wet Leg are easily the wackiest, off-the-wall indie acts to blast onto the scene in recent years, which has helped a smidgen of crossover into the mainstream.

Their appeal has seemed to grow beyond the level of comparable acts such as Sports Team, black midi and Black Country, New Road, and they even have more Spotify listeners than Fontaines D.C..

A unique brand of tasteful horniness pervaded their first two singles, and while it wasn’t so present in future releases, that’s what generated buzz around this week’s album drop.

The album in question, running at 37 minutes over the course of its 12 songs, has far more depth than that.

That’s not to say it’s boring in the slightest.

By placing Chaise Longue second and Wet Dream fifth in the running order, the band are able to bring audiences on a ride from their cheeky start to an equally powerful, but perhaps more meaningful present.

In between, ‘Angelica’ is a witty and very listenable take on social awkwardness, while ‘I Don’t Wanna Go Out’ takes the same theme and plays with it in a very social media-friendly way.

It’s not a surprise to some, given the nature of how their first two singles gained success, but for me, this ability to elevate themes that could be found in Instagram memes to significant and catchy art is highly impressive.

Few other bands can be seen emulating the same task right now, and despite how obvious it may seem, it does take a canny use of the source material.

Upon first listen, fans who have established their support of the band on early releases may find the section beyond Wet Dream underwhelming.

With more patience, however, it will become clear that these are songs that really build on the solid foundations laid by business done in 2021, and give Wet Leg – the album – its centring.

After Wet Dream’s spiky, groovy rhythm, ‘Convincing’ drops things down in a low-key take on modern-day self-assurance and features a couple of excellent lines, including:

/ ‘I took a swim too in the night-time, On the beach, wet feet, Bioluminescent plankton shit’ /

The next entry, ‘Loving You’, is probably the song that will go most under the radar on the album, but there isn’t reason for it to.

It’s a ditty about the maelstrom of emotions following a break-up, and is about as golden lyrically as any effort on the topic could be.

I shan’t ruin it for you, but amongst several great lines (again), my pick would be: / ‘You say you think about me in thе midnight hour, I know that you’re just rubbin’ one out up in the shower’ /

‘Ur Mum’ is an altogether more attention-grabbing song, and was duly the band’s final single prior to album release, with a fantastic video to match.

To say it’s a cracker would be an understatement.

Then we head onto ‘Oh No’, which is about as simplistic as indie rock can get, with several repeated guitar bars and an extremely direct set of lyrics.

Three-quarters of the way through the album, it’s exactly what’s needed and is another string to the duo’s bow; a succinct attack on the fickle nature of digitality.

‘Piece of Shit’ takes another minimalistic idea – this time of male oafishness – and addresses it with just the right level of brutality, proving to be another worthy inclusion.

Momentum then carries into the seamless ‘Supermarket’, which I dare say is the next in a generational coverage within rock – after The Clash and Pulp – of the inescapable commercialism within all our lives.

It’s typical educated stoner fare, but it’s really enjoyable, so nothing wrong with that as far as I’m concerned.

The album closes on ‘Too Late Now’ – a previous release that deserved greater attention, but will certainly receive it now.

Perfectly placed as an album-closer, the track has an airier quality with slightly more observational lyrics, which perhaps allow the listener a view of the band’s future.

Debut albums are always stacked with experiential insights which can’t be emulated in future releases.

It’s the equivalent of getting your most exciting news out first in a conversation; naturally, with your most exciting early adult experiences just behind you, your art will be bold, brash and cutting-edge.

The challenge is to go on and tell stories in a different way, and from this indication, Wet Leg shouldn’t struggle whatsoever.

In this throwaway world, focus will be on future releases, but we have plenty to enjoy in this capture of their lives up until now.

It’s a fascinating, endearing insight, and time will actually benefit it; there’s plenty to explore.

So go and enjoy it, because Wet Leg will definitely be around for a while!

Rating: 8.5/10  

Wet Leg come to Nottingham as part of their national tour on 25 November, playing at Rock City. Tickets are still available

Feature Image Credit: Domino Records

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