Viagra Boys – ‘Cave World’ review: a grimy time capsule of a truly bizarre era

The Swedish punks lift up the rock that is humanity to shed light on what lurks beneath (and find Sleaford Mods' Jason Williamson under there too)

For those who find Fat White Family a touch too debonair, Sweden’s Viagra Boys go one gristlier. Their two albums since 2018 have documented all manner of criminal, antisocial and self-destructive gutter life in visceral post-punk style. The band even found space on last year’s ‘Welfare Jazz’ to cover John Prine’s country duet of redneck romance ‘In Spite Of Ourselves’ with Amyl And The Sniffers’ Amy Taylor playing the trucker-mouthed Juliet to singer Sebastian Murphy’s sleazy Romeo.

This third record comes populated by a whole new breed of pandemic-era low-life – the Trumpian anti-vaxx gun shagger, parroting any and every spurious conspiracy theory the internet throws at them. The driving, motoric ‘Troglodyte’ is a withering portrait of a would-be workplace shooter and conspiracist, arguing that these unevolved plankton of humanity would have been beta male mincemeat in prehistoric times, before the Second Amendment gave power to the pathetic.

Then ‘Creepy Crawlers’ gets right inside their heads – Murphy opens the track with a stream of bizarre theories about insects in the vaccines collecting internal information, then broadens his feverish remit to take in the lizard elites harvesting unvaccinated children for their untainted blood. It’s both biting post-punk satire and the best shot yet at a band breaking through via the untapped audiences of TalkRadio and GB News.

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Likewise, ‘Return To Monke’ finds another conspiracist so horrified by 5G, vaccines, global elite plots and round Earth lies that he yearns to “leave society” and “be a monkey”. “Out here in your local jungle / Ain’t nobody vaccinated,” Murphy wails like a demented Rob Tyner of MC5, “We spend our time throwing shit at each other / We’re just hanging out masturbating.” Electronic gristle pop number ‘The Cognitive Trade-Off Hypothesis’ reminisces nostalgically about our far simpler ape days, before we got kicked out of the trees and had to learn to talk to each other to survive, let alone had fucking Facebook Stories and Piers Morgan Uncensored.

The wider world of general scumbaggery inevitably gets a look in too. Gutter rock pile-driver ‘Baby Criminal’ follows a childhood psychopath from killing squirrels for hats to constructing his own DIY nuclear device. ‘Ain’t No Thief’ is pounding indie sleaze about trying to style out being caught wearing the coat you half-inched off someone’s nan. And ‘Punk Rock Loser’ and ‘Big Big Boy’ are both swamp-rock confessions of a total waster, the latter featuring a guest rant from Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods as its clattering blues groove gives way to a cranky house outro.

If the worst of times brings out the worst in people, Viagra Boys are set to be icons of the age, and ‘Cave World’ its defining document. As scientists prepare a time capsule of humanity for future species to find, it’s a shoo-in.

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