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Swedish Post-Punks Viagra Boys Release New Album

Swedish Post-Punks Viagra Boys Release New Album

The Swedish rock outfit released their second full length album, Welfare Jazz on the 8th of January. This kicks off what is lining up to be an exciting month for fans of punk and post-punk, with releases from contemporaries such as Goat Girl, Shame and Sleaford Mods all set for later in January. After initial acclaim from their 2018 debut ‘Street Worms’ the band went on tours across the world and now return with their first release in three years.

The signature raspy vocals from tattooed frontman Sebastian Murphy, along with his gritty and often dark lyrics have earned Viagra Boys a serious reputation in spite of their comical name. Offering a variety of musical stylings, including frequent use of brass instruments and short interludes and skits, the band ooze charisma. It is clear to see the appeal in the uncompromising nature of Murphy and his bandmates, with their sleazy demeanour that acts as a stark contrast to the often-sterilised music and image of artists in the age of the internet. Energetic, sweaty gigs and stripped-back music videos only add to the niche appeal of Viagra Boys and it now seems that they are here to stay.

Welfare Jazz has all of the cynicism and sense of humour that so many fans have come to love, whilst refining the band’s ubermacho, tongue in cheek breed of post-punk. Their second album does hint at a further delve into electronic instrumentation, perhaps as a result of realising some confinements of sticking to the formulaic punk standard of drums, guitar, bass. Viagra Boys’ attempt to broaden their horizons is unlikely to split their fanbase, with all of the darkly humorous elements that have become their signature still at the forefront of the music.

The foundations of the band are a solid as ever and stand out the most on intimate moments such as ‘To the Country’. Murphy’s ability to draw on his life to parody the American dream and create a gritty pastiche is one of the defining characteristics of the band’s humour. Murphy himself almost carries himself as a sort of modern day cowboy or outlaw, with his masculine, whisky-fuelled charm and engrossing charisma.

Nowhere else is this felt more than on the bizzare closing track ‘In Spite of Ourselves’ featuring Amy Taylor from Aussie punk band Amyl and the Sniffers. The song is a cover of the original Western classic of the same name by John Prine, featuring Iris DeMent. This cover was posted on the band’s YouTube originally, with the caption “In loving memory of John Prine” after the American singer-songwriter passed away last year. The cover perfectly encapsulates the bizarre nature of Viagra Boys, where it is almost hard to tell what is serious and what is done for a laugh.

This new twist on their style could, in time, prove to propel the band to the top of the newly emerging vaguely-post-punk food chain but it seems that, for now, Viagra Boys continue to provide an alternative commentary and will remain a potent band that are not to the taste of the masses.

I'm an in-house Aberdonian and music-obsessed media grad. I’m currently studying a Master’s in Journalism and when I’m not studying, I’m getting stuck into whatever music, movies and books I can get my hands on. Some of my all-time favourite artists are Joy Division, FKA Twigs, King Krule, The Streets and Kendrick Lamar. I also run another blog (inertia.blog) with a bit more of a Scottish cultural and political commentary and you can find me on Twitter (@EwanBlacklaw) if you want a chat.