Amyl and the Sniffers know exactly what they’re doing.
Sure, the Australian group’s quicksilver concerts lust towards chaos, but just when it nudges up to the moment of collapse Amy Taylor will whip her microphone back into place and lead the group into a nailed on piece of troglodyte boogie.
A series of electrifying live shows brought the Melbourne band to these shores last year, accompanied by a needle-to-the-red collection of what were essentially demos on Damaged Goods.
Loading up the van and sailing around the country, they collapsed out the backdoor somewhere close to Sheffield, climbed into an actual, proper, studio and produced… well, a little bit of magic.
‘Amyl and the Sniffers’ is a thumping, screaming, wailing magnet for misfits, losers, and outcasts, a clarion call for rejects and mis-shapes that is also an obscenely, outrageously good time. Done and dusted in 11 tracks – most of which barely stagger across the three minute mark – ‘Amyl and the Sniffers’ is the epitome of plug-in-and-play, a blistering slice of punk rama-lama and half-inches from the yob side of glam.
‘Starfire 500’ opens with a sludged up boogie, before Amy’s amped-up Australian delivery pierces this wall of noise, like a nail hiked through a snapped off plank of wood. ‘Gacked On Anger’ is 100 seconds of fury at life on the breadline, while ‘Cup Of Destiny’ vows to “have the last laugh”.
‘GFY’ opens with a bass-line so warped and elastic it’s actually genius, before the warp speed D-Beat – Sniff-Beat? – voyage smashes into a simple, blunt chorus: “Go fuck yerself!”
‘Angel’ is the breathing space both band and listener need, letting the pace drop a little. The intensity is still there, though, with ‘Monsoon Rock’ allowing its piledriver rhythm section to push the vocal to new levels of infamy, with Amy vowing: “I ain’t gonna lie, I ain’t gonna sugarcoat it…”
‘Control’ is the stuff of denim-clad Status Quo nightmares, while the terrace chorus of ‘Got You’ hammers home like an Aussie Rules tackle, all blood, snot, and the faint aftertaste of Castlemaine XXXX.
‘Some Mutts Can’t Be Muzzled’ may be the climax, but for our money the Jukebox pick has to be ‘Shake Ya’. Sheer, unrelenting adrenalin, it’s the sound of a band pointing at the mixing desk and shoving every single needle right into the red, an ear-bleeding, nose-bleeding, eye-bleeding piece of punk rock that works almost as a manifesto for the band themselves.
At one point Amy shrieks into the mic, and then adds in a half-demonic fashion: “I guess that’s me, I guess I’m crazy…”
The best rock ‘n’ roll has always disrupted, ripped up the rulebook and caused inspiration and confusion in equal measure. On that note, Amyl and the Sniffers are an absolute bunch of pricks and we honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.
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