Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, two musicians from the Isle of Wight now more commonly known as the founders of indie rock band Wet Leg, have released a new self-titled album that is likely to give listeners something worth talking about, or at the very least something to hum along with.
It is apparent quite early in its track list, however, that this project is lacking in a few key areas. Wet Leg does prove to fill these voids and often does so with great style and effectiveness, but it is not without missteps and interruptions to these redeeming qualities and sequences that this album is brought to a conclusion.
One prominent example of such stumbles on this album is found nearly immediately on “Chaise Lounge.” On this track, Teasdale and Chambers exchange bland vocals in a manner that takes momentum away from the track. While there could be some potential here for creative expression by means of tempo and a sort of call and response technique, this is not how Wet Leg carries out the exchange. Instead, an overly-simplified back and forth between the two singers partially ruptures the continuum of the song and leaves much to be desired.
Some of these same flaws continue on the sixth track, “Convincing,” and are perhaps brought to a climax on the album’s closer, “Too Late Now,” as both songs contain a great deal of lyrical work that simply feels sloppy. On the latter of the two tracks, for example, the band declares,
I don’t need no radio
No MTV, no BBC
I just need a bubble bath
To set me on a higher path
While these lyrics might be natural in some ways or even intended to come across as simple and straightforward, in all actuality it is difficult not to hear them as lackluster and potentially underwritten. As a result, such lines make it difficult to take some of the more serious themes of the album to heart as a listener, or at the very least to feel the same degree of effectiveness they might have if they were designed even slightly differently.
Nevertheless, there is nearly just as much to be said on the positive side of this album and that is heard immediately on track one, “Being In Love.” This song comes through fantastically as something of a somber take on love with a catchy chorus that is somehow simultaneously lively and somber. In a similar way, “Angelica” doesn’t follow far behind and brings crisp vocals coupled with a backing of instruments that carries something of a metallic texture.
In its own way, “Don’t Wanna Go Out” brings a particularly dreary mood into the picture, one that is reflected both by its cloudy but engaging coastal guitar riffs as well as a not-so-joyous vocal harmony to match. The song is lyrically quite spot on as well, as Wet Leg sings of the strong desire to just stay home rather than venture out into the gloom of it all, and perhaps so much more.
While these tracks certainly share some of or similar pitfalls as those mentioned previously in this review, they have the additional stylish and redeeming qualities necessary to at least on some level overshadow such flaws.
Wet Leg’s self-titled album does well to accentuate the band’s talents and creativity via ear-catching vocals and guitar as well as strong feelings of inferred emotion, while also demonstrating that they still have much more to explore sonically as well as lyrically.
This album does have its missteps, enough of such to stunt its growth to a noticeable degree. Nevertheless, in many senses, Wet Leg undoubtedly shows great promise in their choice of which sounds they choose to greet the music world.