Posted in Album Reviews

Wet Leg – Wet Leg (2022)

One of 2022’s most anticipated releases is the self titled debut from Isle of Wight band, Wet Leg.  First single “Chaise Longue” introduced singer Rhian Teasdale and lead guitarist Hester Chambers to the world in a memorable self-directed video for their effervescent and deadpan lyrical track.  The first single was like a beam of light coming through months of sitting at home during the pandemic. Rounded out by three  additional members, the band has gone on to release five further singles on an album that went to #1 in both the UK and Australia.

“Angelica” starts with a high pitched guitar before the band explodes into colour on the second verse as Teasdale sings the cutting line, “I don’t wanna follow you on the ‘gram/I don’t wanna listen to your band”.  “Wet Dream” follows the template with another amusing upbeat track about an ex dreaming about Teasdale. “Ur Mum” has a distinct new wave feel to it.

Several songs travel different routes than the big singles. Hester takes over the vocals with on “Convincing”, the throaty delivery could prove to be a future secret weapon.  “I Don’t Wanna Go Out” is a softer in approach, as Teasdale sings about staring down turning 30 while still doing all the same things she did in her early 20s. The album closes with third single, “Too Late Now”.  The atmospheric track sounds epic with thundering drums and a vocal that sounds sadly emotional while delivering the line “If I thought that you were cool/we would have hung out more in school”.  What sets Wet Leg’s debut apart is their ability to take an indie rock sound, make it memorable and deliver lyrics that are both funny and sad at the same time.

9/10    

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10 Favourite Songs of 2021

10. The Hold Steady – Unpleasant Breakfast:  The mid tempo track appears midway through the latest release from The Hold Steady, on an album that welcomes Franz Nicolay back to the fold. It’s a minimal track that gets amped up with “Woooo” in the chorus before adding a piano swing towards the end.

9. Chris Miles, Lil Xan – MISS ME:  When Lil Xan teamed up with Chris Miles, they managed to cross numerous musical boundaries including rap, trap, rock, emo, pop, etc. Lil Xan turns in a vulnerable second verse and it’s hard to deny the simple hook of Miles yelling “like yeah”.  An unexpected end of year favourite.

8. Japanese Breakfast – Paprika:  The lead track from Michelle Zauner’s critically acclaimed third album was all sweetness and light. It is hard to top the joy when Zauner hits the high notes in the chorus and her exclamation that “it’s a rush” just before the horns pour in.

7. Lana Del Rey – Dealer:  With two albums of songs to choose from in 2021, this Miles Kane duet is not the most obvious. Driven by bass and drums, the lazy 60s vibe builds as they sang “I gave you all my money” before Lana belts out the anguished chorus.

6. Wolf Alice – Delicious Things:  The second track on Wolf Alice’s excellent Blue Weekend album, sees the Ellie Roswell wondering whether her move to LA was the right decision.  Over an atmospheric chorus, Roswell ponders a feeling that many of us have felt while living in a new city – “would you believe I’m in Los Angeles?”

5.  Chvrches (Featuring Robert Smith) – How Not To Drown:  Another UK band that saw members move to LA, Chvrches second single added Robert Smith to the proceedings. A pounding piano breaks through the densely layered track. Even with a legend singing with her, it’s Lauren Mayberry that delivers the powerful opening line “I’m writing a book on how to stay conscious when you drown”.

4. Wet Leg – Chaise Longue: When readers on Instagram were asked by BBC6 what  their favourite new bands were, an overwhelming amount of commenters mentioned Wet Leg. The duo delivers hilarious lyrics in a monotone, deadpan style over one of the catchiest musical beds of the year. A few more excellent singles have followed making Wet Leg’s debut scheduled for 2022, one of the most anticipated of the new year.

3. Damon Albarn – Royal Morning Blue: A highlight off of Albarn’s first solo album in seven years, “Royal Morning Blue” rides a simple electronic drum beat but also adds swirls of sounds. The atmospheric track draws much heft from Albarn’s singing and hits an emotional note when he says, “…and nothing like this had ever happened”

2. The Felice Brothers – Jazz On The Autobahn:  The upbeat track from New York’s The Felice Brothers tells the story of a woman speaking of what the apocalypse will be like. A terrific drum beat moves the track along as it reaches the infectious chorus declaring the end of times will sound/not sound like “jazz, jazz, jazz…”.  If the end of the world sounds like this, I’m ready!

1. Middle Kids – Today We’re the Greatest:  Like the year before, 2021 was a rough go much of the time.  Still battling a pandemic, cut off from friends/family, endless fighting online, employment lost, travel plans cancelled. But Middle Kids breaks through the doom to declare that, “someday we’ll be gone, but today we’re the greatest”. It’s a poignant sentiment that we’ll all disappear and be forgotten about but just for today – we can be heroes. A hidden gem that will hopefully be discovered by more people needing a lift.