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May 2021
Album review

Viagra Boys – Welfare Jazz

Behind the rough exterior is an old soul, notes of romance hiding in every grunt and wail.
Label: YEAR0001
Released: 8th January 2021
Rating: ★★★★
Viagra Boys – Welfare Jazz
Published: 3:05 pm, January 14, 2021Words: Edie McQueen.

Swedish misfits Viagra Boys are more than your average bundle of testosterone and post-punk angst; their latest offering, 'Welfare Jazz' sees them at their best, providing a Hollywood slant on the furious guitar music that seems everywhere at the moment. With classically trained backgrounds, the band have managed to gild their brawling, disordered sound with the sordid grace of early MGM pictures. It lends a certain romance to the album that often gets lost in similar pursuits - when lead singer Sebastian Murphy drawls 'Jesus Christ I feel alive', we feel genuinely uplifted, and when he paints a picture of riding off into the sunset in a rom-com ending, we believe him.

The album opens with the venomous, schoolboy declaration 'I ain't nice', but the sentiment is softened with the swift transition to its successor 'Cold Play', a surprising instrumental track to transport you to a smoky backroom downtown. The smooth narrator of 'Toad' continues this jazzy, rockabilly feel, calmly addressing his lover over the low rumblings of stormy guitars. The lyrics see a silver-tongued cavalier smilingly explain away his woman; according to him, she is simply not needed - aside from, of course, for a certain physical act. It simultaneously harnesses and satirises masculine bravado in a gorgeous feat that encourages jiving as much as it does moshing.

The whole record continues to deftly alternate between seismic, spasming punk and silver screen beauty, rounded up with a dose of Americana longing to complete its charm and eclecticism. It's more than the bloodied grin of post-punk; behind the rough exterior is an old soul, notes of romance hiding in every grunt and wail.

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