Wet Leg – Wet Leg Review

A post-punk scene revival says more about where culture is at the moment than it does about the artists trying their hand at it. Punk classics were the call to arms. The Clash, Sex Pistols and Ramones were not just innovating, they were capturing the attention of young rebels unhappy with what the generation before them had done. That is a feeling lingering through the music of this year, and Wet Leg’s eponymous debut album slots comfortably into place. Side by side with Yard Act’s The Overload and Black Country, New Roads’ Ants from Up There, Wet Leg try their hand at a third piece for the fast-growing, broad ranges of post-post punk. If that were a real genre, it’d be excruciating. Post-punk is Wet Leg’s aim, and indie rock is their rubber-stamped sale.

It is hard to see why that feels like the broad slot for it to fit into, with a range of instrumentals on the opening track Being in Love that nicely separates it from the traditional contemporaries that have dominated the genre. With its simple video accompaniment being the DVD idle menu, the album title scattering around the screen, Wet Leg provides not just audible and lyrical understandings of its target generation, but of what they are nostalgic for and angry about. Chaise Lounge feels like a rather obvious knock at the upper-class hitters heading off to get their degree, with Mean Girls quotes to boot, but quickly devolves into a sexed-up mockery of university life, and smartly so. Horizontal linings, buttered muffins and a guitar-heavy chorus that lingers briefly but positively as the track takes a conversational tone.

Wet Leg are keen to display they have their finger not just on the pulse of the modern era but on what makes a listener tick. What aids Wet Leg is its desire to adapt to different genre sensibilities. The electronics underscoring Angelica are a nice touch. The smaller flourishes Wet Leg can adapt in this debut album from Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers are exciting to listen to, but nothing out of the lyrical ordinary for a genre consolidating heartbreak and drinking. For all the technical flourishes, the studio perfections and strong vocal performances, the lyrics can leave something to be desired. I Don’t Wanna Go Out suffers from the extremely relatable process so many bands before, in the same genre, have detailed, and with better results. What detracts is Wet Leg having nothing new to say, although their quality surrounding the lyrics is well above the average. The fumbling techno addiction and online abuse found on Oh No is a decent message but a repetitive and seemingly unfinished one, with its “pizza rat” filler.  

That is not to say tracks like I Don’t Wanna Go Out aren’t worth a listen. There is comfort in hearing those relatable notes, but it isn’t the most rewarding of tracks, especially when Wet Dream and Angelica bookend the track with its strange variance and its pop, not at the failure of relationships but the angsty longing. Wet Leg turns the usual longing on its head, a nice dissection that prods at the longing losers rather than the desired subjects. Changing the gaze gives Wet Leg a fresh quality, but not every track can drag itself away from that. Wet Leg’s worst tracks are fun indie staples, their best tracks are sprinkled in-between in a thoroughly great debut album.

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