Amyl and The Sniffers is the name and chaos is their game; from the humble beginnings of just spontaneously jamming one day as a four and then releasing the wares from said jam the next day, to wreaking havoc across the globe with their own brand of rugged punk ‘n’ roll, to being signed by Rough Trade, Amyl and The Sniffers’ trajectory has been a sharp ascent since that hallowed day in 2016. With a reputation of being an untamed beast in the live environment, the Aussie quartet are readying their self-titled debut album, one that distils the anarchy of their live shows sans the sweat drenched mosh pits.
Following the EPs ‘Giddy Up’ and ‘Big Attraction’, the Melbourne punk’s eponymous first long player rages and snarls with a vehement intensity. At the centre of the bedlam is vocalist Amy Taylor, armed with a sneered bogan Australian vocal delivery, her styling is just as confrontational as the melee that fuels her fire and vice versa. Amyl and The Sniffers are completed by guitarist Dec Martens, drummer Bryce Wilson and bass player Gus Romer and collectively the foursome manage to straddle all the anti-social outposts of rock ‘n’ roll, capturing punk and hardcore’s volatile side, whilst sliding in some of AC/DC’s ragged histrionics – there are many scorching solos to be lapped up – and the slightest nod to surf rock. There’s no rock star bullshit to be found here, it’s pure anarchy without a shred of sheen.
‘Amyl and The Sniffers’ USP presents itself via the band’s rapid and relentless take on punk with the fury and frustration that comes with it. There’s a smattering of tracks that barely push the two-minute mark and it’s this whim-wham-bam approach that nails home the band’s point with gusto. ‘Gack on Anger’ is a twisted anthem for the disenfranchised, a furious blast of punk that has Taylor hollering in her abrasive Australian accent “I’m working off my arse/every single day/for the minimum wage/and I don’t get paid/I don’t have a house/I can’t pay the rent/I’m sleeping on the floor/in a car/in a tent”. ‘GFY’s fiery detonation of rampant hardcore flecked with punk is where Taylor yelps “I think you’re a fucking lunatic” and for someone to “go fuck yourself”. It’s anger at full tilt, as is the untethered violence of ‘Punisha’. When not swerving through the chicanes of punk and hardcore ‘Amyl and The Sniffers’ dips its toe into garage rock waters. ‘Angel’, with its poppy vocal harmonies and jaunty jangle, recounts a love story that’s hit the buffers “I love you so much/but your love is too tough/I wanna be your little angel but your little angel just ain’t enough”. ‘Got You’ on the other hand is where infatuation proves itself to be overwhelming for Taylor; over a barrage of shouty garage rock, the band’s gobby mouthpiece claims “walk in the room and I start blushing”. The record is sandwiched by two slabs of extended rock ‘n’ roll; ‘Starfire 500’ is an elongated romp through rough ‘n’ ready, primal anarchy while album closer ‘Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)’ is Amyl and The Sniffers flexing their big ROCK muscles, as it sounds like Black Flag and Chuck Berry speeding down a highway in an illegal street race. It’s punchy, fearsome and the perfect way to round off the band’s rampant debut LP.
Whether you like it or not Amyl and The Sniffers are coming, it’s time to embrace the chaos.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams