While Legss has always been a quartet, it feels like there is a fifth member who conducts their music to strange places – London itself. Three of the group grew up in orbit of London, while Green grew up near Liverpool.
Martin explains his paradoxical relationship to the city. “I can drown in frustration living here,” he says. “I’m still dealing with my relationship with music and the city and writing music in London. All of this is twisted into each other.
“You can feel the conflict with capital in our music,” adds Grace.
The group’s latest single, ‘Hollywood’, embodies this love-hate relationship. Detailing the cognitive dissonance of being an artist in London, Grace explains how “you come home for Christmas and say to your family ‘I played my music on the radio’ and they’re proud. But the reality is that you work in cafes on a daily basis.
“I picked up the trash when we were doing The prophets of doom, says Vert. “But you know, as it says in the lyrics, ‘I tell my mother’s friends that I work in Hollywood. ‘”
This violent clash with the capitalism of the last stage of London boils gradually and then suddenly in the music of Legss, like a series of failures. Their music is not an ode to Albion des Libertines, nor to Britpop’s Cool Britannia; instead, it’s in dialogue with Boris Johnson’s tasteless Britain.
“I don’t necessarily think we’re a political group,” says Green. “But I think the way politics come into play in music is through subtlety or nuance.”
This subtlety means that the abyss of the capital can appear as neoliberal visions. There’s the elegant anxiety of “Venus” flapping like a Ballardian panic attack happening in Nine Elms’ Sky Pool, for everyone to see. There is a lull in ‘Doomswayers’ which has a tinge of ‘Where Is My Mind’ by the Pixies, evoking a distorted Fight club end stretching to Canary Wharf. And while ‘Hyde Park Coroner’ is a murderous ballad that stretches back in time, it’s the aborted Marble Arch Mound that sparkles in the mind.
The cumulative effect is music that plays like a postmodern novel. A sound that links meta-fiction, irreverence and ingenuity, fusing high and low culture and engaging with the madness of the world. It’s the perfect soundtrack to a self-cannibalizing city.
But for all that, the music of Legss is never intoxicating. The heart of the music is not the cynicism, but the connection. Green says that at the heart of their music “there is an awareness of how affecting sound can be. We are so aware of how we are all equally affected by music, and we believe that we too can make music that is so touching. “
Grace condenses even more, “We really, really fucking care.” They are honest, heartfelt songs for dark, depressed times.