Last August, they booked a set at the Green Man festival in Wales, and were startled to see dozens of fans waiting for them to play. Surely, they thought, all those people had come to see them by mistake. “Once we’d soundchecked our instruments,” Teasdale said, “we had a few minutes to …”
“Have a nervous wee,” Chambers interjected.
“The whole tent was full of expectant people who’d heard only one song at that point,” Teasdale continued. “It’s been really weird, playing to big audiences.”
The effect of “Chaise Longue” was that immediate. By the time they started writing the song, Teasdale had moved to London and was working as a stylist on commercials. She came back to Isle of Wight to stay with Chambers and her partner Joshua Mobaraki, who tours with Wet Leg as a synth player and guitarist. Teasdale’s makeshift bed was a lumpy chaise longue that had belonged to Chambers’s grandparents, which inspired the three of them to write the song while taking part of the lyrics (“Is your muffin buttered?”) from a scene in “Mean Girls.”
Michael Champion of the band Champs, who played bass on the song, liked it enough to contact Hall, who asked to meet them, much to their disbelief. “It’s kind of my sweet spot — the new wave indie guitar music I grew up loving,” Hall said. “They are quiet and shy people, and somewhat bemused by the success,” he added, “but there’s also a quiet ambition about them.”
The video Wet Leg made themselves for “Chaise Longue” also helped fuel the phenomenon, thanks to Teasdale’s deadpan demeanor, and attire (straw sun hats, floor-length white frocks) that makes them look like 1890s frontierswomen. They’ve since made self-directed videos for “Wet Dream” and “Oh No.” “I trust their instincts,” Hall said. “They’ve got it right so far.”
Older listeners might hear echoes of bands from an earlier generation, like Delta 5, Elastica or Art Brut. But Teasdale and Chambers aren’t familiar with any of those groups. Their closest compatriots are Dry Cleaning, Yard Act and Sports Team, young British bands who, despite having been born after new wave’s popularity crested, emulate the music’s springy bass lines, resolute drums and jabbing guitars as they limn the ruins of consumer culture, talk-singing in unmistakably British cadences. These bands share an ability to muster ecstatic objections out of their disgust.