Review Summary: Would you still love me if I was a street worm?
Like most people I first became aware of Viagra Boys through their viral hit ‘Sports’, the video for which made the rounds a few years ago. It's certainly an amusing video; vocalist Sebastian Murphy saunters across an indoor tennis court, his heavily tattooed paunch exposed to an ongoing match as he drolly lists off a questionable retinue of sports (e.g. ‘getting high in the morning’, ‘not answering calls’, 'buying things off the internet’). The song is a very good example of Street Worms
style and the post-punk traditions it lifts from. Sardonic, ironic, detached, a bit random, too-cool-to-care, slightly punky but not too punky (that would be caring, remember), slightly funny but not too funny (that would be trying, remember). It's also one of the only two songs I think are worth listening to.
Let's examine the Viagra Boys guide on how to be a street worm. First, find a classic post-punk drum beat (not too fast now!!!) and stick to it with minor variations. Boring the tits off the listener is the aim here. Rely on your vocalist to supply any sense of personality or charisma. Have him actually be quite boring except for the most minor flashes of brilliance (see the aforementioned Sports). Have him say things that are neither funny or interesting or good to listen to (I'm surfing with your mum, I’m surfing through life, don't give a *** about nothin’). Have him forget the fact that if you want to eschew singing you can do so, but you should actually draw from some other vocal quirks (yelping, growling, whooping, hollering, hissing, etc.) other than dry monotone.
Ok, leave him, bring the saxophonist in for his part. Does he skronk? No. That would be trying. The saxophonist is here to give us the impression of fun. Do not resist the mid-tempo current of mediocrity. Here are some vaguely strange tones, some post-punk coloured weird textures to distract from the total and utter rhythmic anti-assault you are being subjected to. Aren't they kooky? No. They are kitsch. This band is kitsch. I do not want to be a street worm. I want to be inside with other people. I want even a vague intimation of punk’s energy and danger, even just a whisper of it. Not an ersatz pastiche.