Following a cache of explosive EPs, Melbourne’s Amyl and the Sniffers roll into their debut proper with an air of expectation. Their sound’s rooted in the ballistic punch of punk that rolled out of ’77, dragging the ghosts of pub rock with it. The LP, despite bringing in name brand production (Ross Orton) the band doesn’t really mess with the formula they scratched in dirt of their early days. Out of the gate the eponymous LP is as focused and damaging as a bat to the ribcage. Amy Taylor continues to be one of the most engaging vocalists to flock to the punk mantle in years. Her rapid fire snarl levels any listener who might underestimate her. She’s just as apt to wrestle double entendres as tell you to go fuck yourself and she does it with exuberance, not anger. Taylor’s screaming, scratching, and slashing, but she’s smiling the whole time, laughing and throwing a beer at anyone who dares step on her stage.
The band locks their horns into a particular vintage of punk that began melting into the plastic pool that would mold ‘80s metal a few years later – powerful, precise, but not afraid to bust out a solo or two as well. Thrashing through a petulant preen that begs comparisons to The Damned, U.K. Subs, The Saints, and even early Guns ’n Roses, the band’s lineage is built on degenerate delight. Amyl and the Sniffers embrace their dirtbag status, they flaunt it and if you can’t handle it, or look down on them they’ve got a more than a few ways to tell you where you can stuff it.
The Sniffers always seems like their ready to incite action. There’s not a violence to their sound, rather the band just seem like they want to embody the chaos, the inertia, and the catharsis that plagues youth. In every chord a restless tension reverberates. In every vocal that Taylor spits theres’ a poke in the eye to see where the provocation will land her. This might make them sound like bratty kids, but the spirt of ’76/’77 was full of the kind of twitchy fuckers who’d just tumbled past voting age and were ready to get a visceral reaction. As debuts go this one’s got pretty much all it needs, and it cements Amyl and The Sniffers as the latest bearers of the ol’ Punk’s Not Dead jolt up the bucket that music needs now and again.
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