Wet Leg: short, peppy songs packed with hooks and one-liners
“I feel like we’re inside a big lovely cake,” remarked Wet Leg’s Rhian Teasdale, standing on the stage of London’s Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday night. Last year, the Isle of Wight indie duo’s newfound popularity made Glastonbury Festival grind to a halt, and the venues of their UK tour last autumn felt similarly sardine-like. This show – part of a week-long slew of acts for Teenage Cancer Trust’s annual fundraiser – finally felt appropriately sized.
The pair – Teasdale and guitarist Hester Chambers – appeared unfazed by the 5,000-strong Kensington crowd: not so surprising, given that they’ve recently supported Harry Styles in stadiums across Australia. Their ascent has been particularly breakneck. Wet Leg signed with independent label Domino (who count Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys among their triumphs) during the pandemic, and promptly took advantage of a world starved of fun, careening from 2021 debut hit Chaise Longue to a clutch of Brits and Grammys earlier this year, as well as a No 1 album that left the pair “feeling like we’re wearing our mum’s high heels”.
That out-of-depth wobble may have been present during early shows, but it was nowhere to be seen at the Albert Hall. With cool confidence, Wet Leg delivered their combination of loud guitars and fun times, beginning with the album opener Being in Love and obscenely catchy single Wet Dream.
Their short, peppy songs fired out hooks and one-liners like a tennis ball machine. There were arch recollections of life as a twentysomething – “the ambience was overrated at the party,” Teasdale observed on Angelica – after some stoned aisle-browsing in Supermarket and “You’re so woke/ Diet Coke” on Oh No, which bubbled over into noisy squeals – and a minute-long audience scream following Teasdale’s invitation: “I’ve been practising my longest and loudest scream, here we go…”
These songs were written and recorded before the success of Chaise Longue, so there was no self-conscious attempt to replicate that hit: just well-crafted, conventional indie rock that occasionally hinted at the duo’s deeper talents, from their harmonies on Piece of S--- to Teasdale’s operatic notes on the unreleased track Obvious. Only the closing number, Chaise Longue, got the entire room standing, but any one-hit-wonder feeling had already been deliciously dispelled.
Free of the giggly stage patter of earlier shows, and any tour paraphernalia such as their favoured giant lobster claws, this one-off charity event instead foregrounded the music, a reminder that Wet Leg are not a novelty act but a serious band, talked about so much simply because they’re good.
Supporting Harry Styles and playing festival dates worldwide through summer; wetlegband.com