Thriving on the erratic, the self-titled debut record by Melbourne maniacal four-piece Amyl & The Sniffers is a disquieting smash-up which you daren’t take your eyes and ears off.
Released by Rough Trade Records, it has taken just two EPs for the young band to herald their feral arrival on the world stage, trawling US and UK youth with their gut-punching songs.
Frontwoman Amy Taylor is pyrotechnics in human form. Her delivery is intoxicating, knife-edge punk which occasionally dips into an affected English accent on opener Starfire 500. If there is a fly in the ointment, it is that you crave the visual along with the audio, such is the fever which Taylor stirs on record.
The adolescent tantrum which rampages on Gacked On Anger and Punisha is inherited from Bis’s pop-punk princess Manda Rin, while Declan Marten’s breakneck-speed, scaled guitars on Cup Of Destiny and GFY (Go Fuck Yourself) threaten to lose control before mid-album has been reached. The latter’s anti-violence lyrics demonstrate a depth in the band’s range exists, and it isn’t simply all libido and impulse.
Softer edges are few and far between but on tracks such as Angel and Got You, beneath the posture lies another layer. On the latter, Taylor sings “Walk in a room and I start blushing / Don’t know what I’ve got but it feels like something”. The band’s virtually barbaric bassline ricochets away from these wounded infatuations, while Bryce Wilson’s drums on Monsoon Rock and Control are outright rock n’roll which Australian predecessors Jet and Wolfmother would envy on their own records.
Shake Ya is like the soundtrack to every teenager’s Friday night, brimming with energy, hazard, and possibility, while closer Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled) showcases a band on the fringe of eminence with hypnotic, electric guitars.
As a live act, A&TS will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with but this debut record proves that there is more than enough exposition, art, rage and capacity to demonstrate the Sniffers are not something to be sniffed at. While this may be the case, punk’s longevity is not exactly renowned and it is always best to go see such bands while they are burning brightly. Right now, the dazzle is atomic.