Viagra Boys - 'Welfare Jazz'

8/10

When Swedish outfit Viagra Boys released their debut album 'Street Worms' in 2018, it was seen as a beacon of how to approach the world of punk in this new era. While many others in their field look to take direct influence from their heroes, Viagra Boys always kept their inspirations at arm's length, allowing them to imprint their own direction and ideas to their sound. And after two years to get used to the buzz and acclaim that came their way, they have returned in confident form on their sophomore LP 'Welfare Jazz', a record that sees them grow into themselves even more.

From the very start, 'Welfare Jazz' looks to present itself as a more reserved and mature offering on the punk stage. With a clear love for the stalwarts of the scene such as Iggy Pop and Fear, their second studio effort is this bold and brooding collection of grooves that are more about melodies than making a raucous racket. Their rustic and gritty demeanour remains a calling card for their style, as frontman Sebastian Murphy gnarls and grimaces his way through this dark and textured collection that always feels like something hideous lurks under the surface, making for a wonderfully intriguing return.

They may still not be the household name they deserve to be, but Viagra Boys are one of those slow-burning groups that aren't interested in making noise in order to be heard. 'Welfare Jazz' has this almost Nick Cave-esque feel to it, something that has an indescribable passion that gives it this captivating aesthetic throughout.

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