Punk-pop Wet Leg hits Philly’s Underground Arts

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Hollie Fernando

As 2021 turned to 2022, every music-related list of pick-to-click artists for the coming year included one femme-fronted duo at the top of the heap: Isle of Wight’s Wet Leg.

From their frantically energetic debut single, “Chaise Longue” and their equally brusque new single, “Angelica,” to their due-in-April debut album, the eponymous ‘Wet Leg’, their sprightly guitars, unerring harmonies, contagious melodies and their dry witted humor make them a must-hear even if you don’t pay any attention to music writers like me. Go see for yourself at Underground Arts on March 12 for further, frenzied proof.

Comparing their sound to “the feeling of juxtaposing an ultra-feminine style with music that’s something completely different,” in a recent Stereogum interview, Wet Leg’s Rhian Teasdale (Hester Chambers is the duo’s other co-founder) believes the duo was birthed with its vibe intact from its 2019 start.

Friends for 10 years before forming Wet Leg, Chambers told DIY Magazine that since the band’s start that, “Every step of the way we have to raise one another up, I think that’s really important.”

Of the band’s start with a longtime friendship as its root, Teasdale told DIY that “I think we just let go of trying to do anything with our music. We’ve both been in bands since we were 16, and this time we were just totally doing it for ourselves. We’ve spent so many years feeling the pressure of our peers; we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. This time, we realized that music should be fun, we need to be doing it for ourselves and nobody else.”

Teasdale told Uproxx Magazine that beyond deciding to be a band, learning how to make their music real, actualizing it as a commodity was quite another issue.

“Part of making music is just learning to put things down, to say things are done,” she said. “Some things are done straight away and it’s obvious, and some things are done and you’re not satisfied with them, but that’s okay. They’re still done. It is what it is. Move on.”

Moving on, self-serving or not, raising the stakes and upping the ante on their already contagious qualities of their funny, frenzied songcraft must be doubly crucial if you study the difference between, say, its 2021 debut single, “Chaise Lounge,” and every release that followed in “Wet Dream,” and the November double-sided single, “Too Late Now” and “Oh No.”

From its song titles through to its often-goofy lyrics, being naughty while maintaining humor was and is important to the two co-authors of Wet Leg.

“When we started the band, we were talking about this and finding solace in the fact we can still do it and be as silly or childish as we like with the music and it’s OK,” Teasdale told DIY Mag. “It doesn’t matter that we’re not 20. There’s such a big thing about age that we do think about it, there’s so much pressure for us ladies especially.”

Going for laughs, however, doesn’t mean that the duo can’t go for the throat, as they do on the mean-spirited break-up track “Piece Of S&%t,” and “Too Late Now.” Even Wet Leg’s newest single, “Angelica,” looks at life after the party’s ended and the disco ball stops spinning.

Teasdale told Alternative Press that its upcoming, self-titled debut album will feature  “a few breakup songs on there,” and that, ultimately, Wet Leg is “sad music for party people and party music for sad people. I think that’s such a nice way to put it because there is a lot of humor in it, but then at the same time, there’s this sarcasm to it as well. I think I’m quite a sarcastic person, and I’m certainly quite a sarcastic songwriter in a way — maybe sarcastic isn’t the word. Maybe…dry humor… Some days, those are the kind of topics that come out in your songwriting.”

Whatever the day, Wet Leg is making potent, poignant post-punk pop music with a caustic wit and wild aplomb.

Wet Leg will perform at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street, on March 12. For information, visit undergroundarts.org.

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