Viagra Boys’ Cave World is a Prehistoric Disco-Punk Masterpiece

You’re in a basement lit only by neon strobe lights and a broken disco ball sputtering too close to peoples’ heads. The closest thing to a bar is a waist-high dresser with a shower curtain draped over it. When you ask for a drink from the man behind the furniture (who’s wearing a pair of shades in the dimly lit area you think is a kitchen), he loosely turns around, grabs a beer bottle and flops it down in front of you. He doesn’t ask for money, just that if you find a tip on more M to let him know, cause he wants to keep this thing going.

You turn around to a crowd of people high on everything from whippets, to hallucinogens, to blow, to whatever smoke is in that clear bag being passed around. A fight breaks out in the corner, you hear something about vaccines and Bill Gates escape from a hole beneath a couple of black eyes before the speaker’s knocked out. Most people haven’t even noticed, but the guy who threw the last punch gets a couple arms reaching out to pat his back, and a couple handing him shots.

Someone you don’t recognize asks if you wanna dance. There’s barely enough room to move, let alone dance, but the smell of sweat’s stopped bothering you now. You’re confused, you’re intrigued, you’re getting a contact high, and you’ve decided to roll with it, so you agree. The person sticks their head up at the DJ and shouts three words over the blaring music: “Turn it up.”

Viagra Boys’ Cave World is the music that gets turned up.

It’s hard to put into words just how right Cave World feels. I’ve made no secret of how much I appreciate the band’s music before, one of my most watched videos on my YouTube Channel is exploring the theme of addiction that VBoys conveys, but Cave World elevates the band’s aesthetic and musicianship to another level. Their previous album Welfare Jazz focused primarily on lead vocalist Sebastian Murphy, or a character he’s playing, going on an individualist journey of self-improvement and acceptance. But while Cave World certainly has those moments of “I’m a bad-ass weirdo dude” (see Punk Rock Loser, Big Boy and Ain’t No Thief), the album’s larger theme seems to be one of the corrupting influence modern society has on humans as a whole.

The groovy and relentless opener Baby Criminal sets the musical tone of the rest of the album. Expect to hear vile and relishing lyrics about criminal activities relating to your family in an absurd fashion while the dirtiest tones and riffs stick in your head and refuses to leave until you have security drag them out. However, it’s on the next proper track Troglodyte that we hear what this album’s really about: pre-history is preferable to what we’re dealing with now.

The track itself calls out the typical modern far-right internet dweller as still failing to fit in better if he lived a million years ago in a cave. Apes are lauded in this album as being the human ideal, and if this guy still retained everything about him and went back to those days, he still wouldn’t be accepted.

“But if it was a million years ago, and we were still living in caves, you would not be welcome by the other apes, ‘cause you evolved a bit too late.”

The band seems to know that there are still people around us who, in the prehistoric ape ideal the band craves, still wouldn’t be welcome. The next piece of evolutionary ape worship comes at The Cognitive Trade-off Hypothesis, where Seb tells us how we were kicked out of the trees by stronger apes and developed speech to warn each other about predators with strategies we’ve created, at the expense of losing our detailed short-memory. Seb wonders if this has something to do with his Attention Deficit Disorder, a theme that comes up later in the song aptly titled ADD. The theory proposed by Tetsuro Matsuzawa is apparently not accepted by the psychological community, but that really rolls with the point of the album. Does this make sense? No. But it doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to feel right. Just like wrapping yourself in tin foil and building a nuclear device, being loose, not stealing a lighter, or going feral.

The music complements this theme perfectly. A much more electronic affair than previous outputs, the lyrical mentions of technology and musical flourishes in the interludes does the dual job of enforcing how robotic modern society feels, as well as reminding us of a bygone era by its primarily 80s/90s sound. What they add musically, they also add thematically.

Creepy Crawlers especially marries the themes of technology corrupting our brains by having Seb inhabit the mindset of a QAnon fanatic. Throughout the entire track he’s screaming about creepy crawlers inside the microchips inside the vaccines to taint our blood while elites kidnap unvaccinated children (who have animal hair, you just have to touch it to be able to tell) to use their adrenochrome to keep themselves humanoid and young. But they cleverly link this view to a desperate clinging to the person’s youth, and the clear influence technology has on our brain

“When I was younger none of this existed! Everything was fine, everything was perfect and now it’s ruined! It’s ruined because you voted on the wrong motherfucker, because you didn’t believe it! You wouldn’t believe the sources that I linked you! I told you to read, I told you to do your research! I told you man! I told you they’re harvesting babies for adrenochrome!”

Though the disdain for the far-right is clear as day in these few political snippets the band gives us, they also want us to remember that all is not lost. As the raucous closer reminds us, we can still come together and put our differences aside. The answer is given in Return to Monke:

Leave society. Be a monkey.

“Well everybody’s worried about the future. ‘I don’t take that vaccine man, they’ll turn you into a computer.’ Well out here in your local jungle, ain’t nobody vaccinated. We spend our time throwing shit at each other and hanging out masturbating.”

While this theme on the album is all delivered very tongue-in cheek, as the band doesn’t actually expect us all to run naked into the woods (I mean… maybe, have you seen them live?) but the anecdote delivered towards the end of the song hits a truly sombre note while still encompassing the patented Viagra Boys absurdity that makes them so unique. A man was beheaded in an office building in Japan. But the point isn’t that a grotesque and violent murder occurred in our every day environments, its actually that a crew did a great job replacing the carpet and cleaning the furniture. It was a good day, and they were proud of themselves for the work they did.

Plus, maybe life isn’t so great in the jungle either.

“Everyone’s killing each other with sticks and bones and old pieces of mud scraped off a tree! They’re killing each other out here, man!”

All in all, Cave World is the perfect crystallization of modern society and the solutions proposed. While I, obviously, have problems with capitalism specifically not being mentioned as the root cause of these issues, not everything I listen to has to have a class analysis. Least of all, a band famous for singing about drugs and screaming “Sports” in an increasingly incoherent manner. The music is simply the best being released right now, it also helps that the lyrics attached are witty, absurd, strange, and provocative in a time when that’s increasingly hard to pull off compared to the absurd and strange reality that we live through every day. Returning to the jungle and throwing our shit at each other may be a tempting solution to what we’re collectively feeling right now, even though we all know that won’t fix anything… and yet the urge remains.

Scott Martin is a writer with articles published in The Beaverton, Passage, and Canadian Dimension. He’s an X University Journalism undergrad, runs the YouTube channel Pinko Punko, and hosts the Haphazard History podcast. He can be found on Twitter.

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Scott Martin

Scott Martin

Writer with articles in Canadian Dimension, Passage, and The Beaverton, Pinko Punko on YouTube, sole member of The Tar Sands. Terminally online.