Wet Leg delivers attitude and energy, but doesn’t quite distinguish itself the familiar sounds the duo trade in.
Riding an immense wave of hype, Wet Leg releases their debut self-titled album, a hook-filled indie rock record that thumbs its nose at the idea of being in a band. The buzz has been so tangible, in fact, that it feels almost reminiscent of the early days of the indie rock craze in the early aughts, generating plenty of excitement for the group’s future and the influence they may bring to bear. The album is predicated on a perceived lack of lyrical sincerity, and that plays no small role in making the whole thing work, Wet Leg’s droning intonations feeling almost as if they were mocking or taunting the listener, establishing a singular, effective dynamic. Another way of looking at it: the duo leans into their carefree nature in such an endearing way that it’s quite hard to not be at least a little bit charmed by their shrugging.
When it comes to the music, however, Wet Leg proves a little more familiar. There are elements of many popular styles of music here, most notably punk, indie rock, and britpop, without too much stretching. While this melange isn’t bad on its face, it does result in a sound that decidedly won’t be among the most original to be heard this year. But what it lacks in originality, it more than manages to make up for with straight-up fun. These cuts are undeniable bops, almost as if they were manufactured in a lab to come soaring across the airways or through your subpar phone speakers via some TikTok video. Indeed, the short-form nature of Internet content seems custom made for Wet Leg’s success, their succinct and quick-witted riffs fitting snugly within the videos that originally sent the dup into the viral stratosphere. The lyrics are biting, often hurling insults toward the men that attempt to control them in the songs, and the delivery of the largely (and deservedly) misandrist musings is always more charming than offensive.
In a world of split-second judgments and inundated with a slew of representation from women in music, it’s simply refreshing to encounter a group like Wet Leg. There’s nothing present that is new per se, but the band’s skill is in making it seem as if it were, and executing it all with attitude to spare. In the months leading up to the album’s release, TikTok users took to commenting “One song” on every late-night performance and music video clip shared on the app, and while ostensibly this was an expression that the duo had largely milked their one popular song, it also did demonstrate a thirst for a little something more from the group. It’s a fitting enough reaction to the album on the whole, too: a quality, polished product and energizing experience that feels just shy of there. There’s no doubt Wet Leg’s popularity is still mid-ascent; if the quality of music follows, something special might not be far away.
Published as part of Album Roundup — April 2022 | Part 2.