Wet Leg

Wet Leg

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Wet Leg Review

by Heather Phares

In the middle of 2021, Wet Leg's Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers came seemingly out of nowhere and dominated popular culture, or at least a part of it, with their single "Chaise Longue." Its combination of in-jokes, Mean Girls quotes, fancy furniture, and warm beer -- all served up with deadpan irony, nagging guitars, and shout-along choruses -- sounded like instant summer. Somehow, the music Wet Leg wanted to make also happened to be what everyone else wanted to hear; "Chaise Longue" racked up millions of streams and reached number 27 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, no small feat for a previously unknown act. It's rare that a band is so fully formed at the start of their career, but on their self-titled debut album, Wet Leg deliver more of those immediately memorable hooks and relatable, witty retorts. Unlike many of their post-punk-influenced contemporaries, Teasdale and Chambers laugh at the world's absurdity (and their own) instead of despairing at it. That sense of humor is a powerful weapon in their hands, and they're most confident on Wet Leg when they're taking aim: On "Oh No," they skewer twentysomething existential dread and hipsters in increasingly chaotic, social media-sized bites with such accuracy that it borders on sketch comedy. When they cut an ex down to size over spiky guitars and handclaps on "Wet Dream," the way Teasdale sneers "what makes you think you're good enough to think about me when you're touching yourself?" echoes the way Elastica and Sleeper put a sardonic, distinctly female stamp on Brit-pop's oh-so-laddish style. Decades later, it's still liberating to hear Chambers and Teasdale tear down someone who doesn't "motivate" them with a well-placed "why don't you just suck my dick?" on "Ur Mum." Though the band completed Wet Leg before the world even heard "Chaise Lounge," they knew there had to be more to their music than whip-smart singles. As a whole, it's remarkably well-rounded, spanning slight tweaks to their sound as well as drastic leaps. Teasdale and Chambers strip away their cool on songs as emotionally varied as "Being in Love," which captures the giddy gut punch of romance with a rush of guitars, synths, and knowingly cooed vocals, and "Loving You," which uses its frothy melody and instrumentation to couch the sting of its heartbroken lyrics. When Teasdale sings instead of using her usual sprechesung delivery, as on "Convincing," it adds another level of cheek to their music, one that they take to drolly rocking heights on yet another standout, "Angelica." While Chambers and Teasdale are still discovering what they can do, they're having a lot of fun finding out, and Wet Leg more than delivers on the promise of their viral beginnings.

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