of the week

How times have changed! In 1969, Max Romeo had a top 10 hit with a song called Wet Dream, not only did Radio 1 not play it, they daren’t even mention the title – even on Pick of the Pops, Alan Freeman referred to it as, “a song by Max Romeo”. Interestingly, Mr Romeo tried to avoid the ‘restriction’ by once claiming it was about a leaky roof and he had to use a broom handle to ‘push it up, push it up’ so the water would run the other way. I don’t think anyone bought that story, but in 2022 the indie duo Wet Leg released a different song with that same title, the second single from their eponymous album, and no radio station restricted the song nor the title. It was the duo’s follow up to Chaise Longue, both of which reached the dizzy heights of number 74 in the chart. The album went to number one, but it’s Chaise Longue that Kev has asked for this week, so let’s lay down and let’s get on with it.

With a song called Wet Dream, you’d be forgiven  for thinking that’s where the band got their name from, but sadly, that’s not the case. Wet Leg are Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, two friends who met at the Isle of Wight College and have played music separately for almost 10 years without any real directions. Getting the band together happened almost accidentally with little thought gone into it  as Teasdale explained, “As a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously, because we’re in a band called Wet Leg, I was, like, ‘Hester, I really want to start a band where we play guitars.’ Hester concurred, “OK then, let’s start a band where we both play guitars,” to which Teasdale retorted, “but, Hester, I don’t play guitar,” and Hester replying with, “That doesn’t matter, you soon will!”

So, how did the name come about, “We basically chose it after hitting 💦 and 🦵 on the emoji keyboard,” Rhian explained in an interview with On The Wight in 2021. “We were playing a sort of game where we’d make band names out of different emoji combinations. Then we got to ‘Wet Leg’ and it just kind of stuck.” Teasdale also explained to John Seabrook in the New Yorker that, “Wet leg is also a term that inhabitants of the Isle of Wight apply to day-trippers and holiday-makers who ferry across the five miles from Southampton.” She also added that her mother had been a ferryboat captain revealing, “She was something of a badass.”

They signed a record deal with Domino records that is also home to the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand and, in 2021, released their debut single Chaise Longue. It’s an unusual title, but it was based on a real piece of furniture. The English translation of the French chaise long means long chair and, in this case, it used to belong to Hester’s grandfather and after he passed, she inherited it. Although both girls get a writing credit, it was mainly written by Teasdale. “I was staying over at Hester’s house when we wrote it,” Teasdale explained, when I stay over, she always makes up the chaise longue for me. It was a song that never really was supposed to see the light of day. So it’s really funny to me that so many people are into it and have connected with it. It’s cool.” Hester added, “The Chaise Longue now lives in my flat. When Rhian stays over it’s also where she sleeps. She actually wrote all the lyrics to the song whilst sitting on the chaise longue (all day long).”

The song had a few sexual innuendos which some people didn’t look favourably on, as Teasdale told The Independent, “I think if we were hip-hop artists, it would probably go unmentioned.” Chambers added, “Yes, it is strange, We did something a few months ago where they asked you to censor ‘shave my rat’ in the song Too Late Now. I don’t really understand why.”

The second verse opens with, ‘Is your muffin buttered? Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?’ which is a direct quote from the 2004 comedy film Mean Girls and the verse ends with, ‘What are you doing sitting down? You should be horizontal now’ basically meaning, why aren’t you having sex.

The song’s accompanying video was made on a shoestring, £50 to be precise. It was filmed by Chambers’ boyfriend all from the boot of a car and the finished product was all edited by Chambers. It shows the girls messing around in a field in their native Isle of Wight and, “The house in the video is my mum’s house and stuff like the rocking horse were still there from my childhood,” Chambers revealed in an interview in Under The Radar. “We didn’t really over-think it and made use of what we had.”

On the back of their debut eponymous album, the girls toured relentlessly but there is something Teasdale misses, “Now I go to all these hotels and the beds technically are really comfy and the pillows are really soft, but I’m so restless. I need my lumpy chaise longue.”