Wet Leg’s debut single is built from a single note, strummed fast and jumping up the octave only on the last beat of the phrase. Named after a piece of furniture, “Chaise Longue” is fully indebted to this minimalist arrangement: Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers never really push the boundaries that this one note draws, and when they deviate, it’s an ascending guitar line and a descending bass line, all ending back on that same note. Essentially, anyone can learn it.
You’d think a song with such a barebones approach wouldn’t be capable of capturing people’s attention the way “Chaise Longue” did, and yet the song quickly went viral in mid-2021 and Wet Leg became one of the most anticipated new acts in the indie scene. How, then, did they achieve such a feat with so few notes and flourishes?
One listen to “Chaise Longue” and it’s clear: Teasdale’s deadpan vocals and carefully spoken lyrics are hilarious, cheeky, and altogether irresistible. Throughout the song, Teasdale turns an older generation’s fears and anxieties about sex into a romp, featuring provocative quips, a Mean Girls quote, and a subversively ironic tone. “Chaise Longue” has the energy of an inside joke between Teasdale and Chambers that we’re special enough to be let in on, and as it continues to climb the Billboard charts and receive significant radio play, it’s safe to say they never expected this many people to get the joke.
Now, with their debut album Wet Leg, out today (April 8th), the Isle of Wight duo is keen on showing just how much they can do beyond sarcastic jokes and minimalist guitar jams. Wet Leg, who are also Consequence’s April Artist of the Month, oscillate between being absolutely serious and totally irreverent; their musical backdrop is a melting pot of various 2000s rock styles, including Yeah Yeah Yeahs-esque post-punk, landfill indie, blog rock, and a good helping of twee.
In a statement describing their origins and the journey of Wet Leg, Teasdale claimed, “Wet Leg was originally just supposed to be funny. As a woman, there’s so much put on you, in that your only value is how pretty or cool you look. But we want to be goofy and a little bit rude.” These ideas are everywhere on the album; there’re quite a few angsty tracks and comically rude lines, like, “You’re always so full of it/ Yeah, why don’t you just suck my dic” on “Ur Mom,” or “I don’t want to follow you on the Gram/ I don’t want to listen to your band” and “I don’t know what I’m even doing here/ I was told that there would be free beer” on “Angelica.”