As Wet Leg, the Isle of Wight’s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers bring a refreshing sense of fun to post-punk. On singles such as 2021′s Mean Girls-quoting viral hit “Chaise Longue,” they turn the style’s deadpan irony on its head, pairing scrappy guitars and drums with dryly humorous lyrics. Released in 2022, their self-titled debut album not only topped the U.K. charts but fared well around the globe, bringing Wet Leg mainstream notoriety and even winning the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.
A decade before forming Wet Leg, vocalist/rhythm guitarist Teasdale and lead guitarist/vocalist Chambers met while they were students at Isle of Wight College. After graduation, they remained friends and pursued music together and with other projects: Chambers played guitar on Teasdale’s introspective, piano-based pieces, Teasdale returned the favor on Chambers’ work, and Chambers also performed with the local group Plastic Mermaids. The idea to have more fun with their music came to them in 2019 after seeing Idles perform at that year’s Isle of Wight festival; soon after, they became Wet Leg. Drawing inspiration from the Ronettes, Jane Birkin, Ty Segall, and Björk, they wrote playful yet incisive songs together as Teasdale learned to play guitar. To flesh out their sound, Chambers and Teasdale recruited drummer Henry Holmes, bassist Ellis Durand, and guitarist/keyboardist Josh Mobaraki as their backing band.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, Teasdale and Chambers had more time to concentrate on Wet Leg. Along with writing and recording demos, they directed and edited the video for one of their songs, “Chaise Longue.” After Wet Leg signed to Domino, the label issued “Chaise Longue” as the duo’s debut single in June 2021. Thanks to its tongue-in-cheek post-punk and eye-catching video (part of which was filmed at Chambers’ mother’s house), it quickly became a viral success, racking up millions of streams and reaching number 27 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart in the U.S. Wet Leg followed it that September with “Wet Dream,” a disco-tinged track also accompanied by cheeky visuals. The pair capped off 2021 with a handful of live dates and the release of two more singles, “Too Late Now” and “Oh No.” All of these songs appeared on Wet Leg’s self-titled debut album. Largely produced by Dan Carey, Wet Leg came out in April 2022 and balanced the band’s wry singles with more vulnerable and melodic songs. Their debut proved to be an international breakout hit, charting around the world and peaking at number one in the U.K. and Australia. Wet Leg reached number 14 in the U.S. and earned the group several Grammy Awards, including Best Alternative Music Album and Best Alternative Music Performance for “Chaise Longue.” ~ Heather Phares