Review: Viagra Boys - Street Worms

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Viagra Boys
Street Worms

With ‘Street Worms’ Swedish sextet Viagra Boys unleash a ferocious debut record full of experimental twists, dark humour and exciting riffs.

★★★★

Viagra Boys, despite their name, have been rather inconspicuous since their formation back in 2015, with only a couple EP’s and a few live shows to their name, they’ve taken their time in crafting their debut. The Stockholm sextet’s Post-Punk music, however, is the striking opposite of subtle. ‘Street Worms’ combines humour and a dark intensity, with lead singer Sebastian Murphy putting on a forced American snarl which cleverly disguises the groups' origins and recalls Murphy’s own Californian roots.

Murphy’s real skill, however, lies in his ability to fluidly switch the intensity of his vocals when required. For the majority of the time his verses are kept restrained, Murphy adopting the tone of a narrator as he tells the listener about the many different reprobates that comprise the stories woven into the record. Whether it be the hilarious meta monologue describing an intergalactic dog competition ‘Best In Show’ or ‘Just Like You’ which brilliantly shows a man with two paths ahead of him, one with dreams of grandeur, the other capitulating into psychosis, presumably just like his father before him.

It’s these various narratives which bring so much colour and personality to the debut record. Of course, well-crafted lyricism is only one segment of a successful album and thankfully, the instrumentation and production are on top form. Whether it’s a ferocious cacophony of horns, guitars and shouts on opener ‘Down In The Basement’ or a constant, steady rhythmic pattern, prickly guitar line and catchy chorus line that comprises the firmly tongue in cheek, yet utterly brilliant ‘Sports’. An observational list of the stereotypical jock which transcends into yelps of madness by the conclusion of the song.

At 9 tracks, the record speeds along at a rapid pace. Especially with tracks such as ‘Frogstrap’ which feel like a frenzied jolt to your ear. It’s this speed and ferocity that makes the record highly replay-able. Reminiscent of The Vaccines’ debut which had a similar unpolished grit, yet addictive nature to it. However, the group do know when to slow things considerably down. ’Worms’ is one such track, a dark, dreary, I’d even go as far to say glum ballad. Yet the track soaks itself into this darkness and leaves a lot to unpack and enjoy. It shows a band which despite the raucous approach, can still offer a selection of more slower paced, experimental songs that still don’t feel out of place.

Speaking of experimental, album closer ‘Ampethancary’ is an entirely instrumental piece. It sees the group embrace a more blues and jazz approach. At nearly six minutes in length, it gives itself time to evolve and change. It’s a bold and surprising twist with a vintage feel. ‘Street Worms’ as a whole presents Viagra Boys as an exciting, new force in the Post-Punk genre. It’s an exciting, humorous and highly intriguing debut and we can’t wait to see what else is to come from the Swedish six piece in the future.