Album Reviews

Viagra Boys – Cave World

(YEAR0001) UK release date: 8 July 2022


Clever but debauched, silly but serious, this is the best album of their career thus far

Viagra Boys - Cave World Viagra Boys are masters of attitude. They’ve honed a finely pitched tone that hovers on the line between outdated sleaze and acerbic social commentary, tempered with a sense of humour that’s sometimes joyously silly and with raucous saxophone honks. Sebastian Murphy’s lyrical style, somewhere between the quirky wit of They Might Be Giants and the cretinous inanity of Limp Bizkit, might have blunt edges but it’s capable of cutting deep.

Cave World, their third album, is apparently ‘inspired by current events’ – which makes one wonder: where the hell do you start when you set out to make an album-length dissection of 2022? How do you distil all the socio-political earthquakes, environmental catastrophes and health crises both physiological and mental into a coherent record?

Well, in the wonderful world of Viagra Boys, the answer is as follows: you make a loose concept album about the anarcho-primitivist notion that we’d be better off if we regressed to a pre-civilised way of life.

In a way, this is the perfect subject matter for Viagra Boys to have fun with – their collective persona is that of the meat-headed knuckle dragger high on false machismo, so a series of songs that satirically portray the Neanderthal lifestyle as something aspirational act as the perfect vehicle for them. Cave World includes a series of songs that directly adopt this posture, not least the single Troglodyte, in which Murphy attacks a basement-dwelling troll, concluding that if we were to return to the mooted anarcho-primitivist utopia: “You would not be welcomed by the other apes, cause you evolved a bit too late.”

Closing track Return To Monke eulogises Neanderthal life, Murphy’s tongue firmly in gurning cheek, but it’s perhaps a bit too drawn-out to be really successful. Its satire ought to punch, but it sprawls instead, with lyrics rambling on about vaccine myths, flat-earthers, 5G conspiracy theories and, erm, wanking in the jungle. This stream-of-consciousness nonsense is clearly a broadside at the tin hat brigade, but its style is too close to theirs for it to fully land.

Creepy Crawlers is more successful – a paranoid antivax ramble delivered in demented preacher style, like Nick Cave at his wildest. It fully crosses the line from unsettling 4chan oddball to outright David Icke shit, and it’s all the better for it. ‘Lizard people!’ Murphy hollers. ‘They’re harvesting our children! Our children are growing up with lizard gills and animal hair!’

Elsewhere, Viagra Boys return to the themes of their previous albums, altering us to the weakness inherent in toxic masculinity with songs like Punk Rock Loser and Big Boy. The latter features a verse from Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods. It’s not Williamson’s best or most savage work, but his unmistakeable voice works nicely with the track’s slouching beat, his East Midlands twang acting as a nice counterpart to Murphy’s Iggy Pop drawl.

Other tracks find Murphy more self-analytical. He addresses his attention deficit disorder in ADD, opening up about the condition over minimal electro beats. The Cognitive Trade-Off Hypothesis again adopts an anarcho-primitivist perspective, painting evolution as a kind of fall of man narrative. But Murphy then adopts a falsetto as he asks: “But what’s all of this got to do with me? Is there some sort of connection to my ADD?”

This little link between Murphy’s reality and the fantasy world that Viagra Boys are lampooning with Cave World is one just detail that demonstrates how the Stockholm punks are upping their game here. Clever but debauched, silly but serious, this is the best album of their career thus far.


buy Viagra Boys MP3s or CDs
Spotify Viagra Boys on Spotify


More on Viagra Boys
Viagra Boys – Cave World
Viagra Boys – Welfare Jazz
Viagra Boys – Street Worms