By Erin Christie
With a band name that references the key component of the party drug poppers alone, Amyl and the Sniffers were bound to stand out as soon as they entered the public consciousness, signaled with the release of their debut EP, Giddy Up (2016), and later, Big Attraction (2017). And since those early days, the Aussie rockers have built their empire off their magnetic, high-velocity live presence, and their newest album, Comfort To Me (2020), captures that energy with ease.
As history has shown, frontwoman Amy Taylor, often bikini top-clad and sporting a bleach-blonde mullet, can command an audience without even trying, and that point stands true even when her voice is blasting through your headphones. Takes “Freaks To The Front,” for example — it’s easy to imagine the swarm of bodies that would surge into action at its opening riffs, and combined with Taylor’s commandeering tone, you might even feel compelled to start a one-man pit in your living room. “Don’t Fence Me In” is also a true standout as well, zeroing in on the fact that they refuse to be pinned down or hindered; similarly, “Laughing” gives way to the fact that they truly don’t give a fuck, regardless of scrutiny of any kind. That’s the beautiful thing about Amyl and the Sniffers — ultimately, they’re masters at churning out hard-hitting bangers, and they’re unapologetically confident in their craft and delivery, too.
As with the aforementioned tracks, the record settles at max amplitude throughout its runtime, pushing forward in a full-throttle sprint with grungy, chaotic arrangements. But while their self-titled debut also exhibits the same level of unbridled angst and sounds that are slightly rough around the edges, this new LP gives them a noticeable coat of polish. On “Hertz,” for example, the instrumentation jolts forward with fuzzed-out hooks, hard-hitting drums, and a face-melting guitar solo or two. But while it’s a track that’s just as raucous and heavy as anything else they’ve released, it’s strong production and seamless sonic quality give way to the fact that the group have come to a point where their messiness still comes across as neat. This isn’t an awful thing, though, as it’s simply a sign of their rising notoriety, granting them access to more advanced means of production (deservedly so).
Over the years, Amyl and the Sniffers have become mainstays of the Aussie rock scene, and for all the right reasons — not only are they unafraid to kick a few doors down to make themselves heard, but what they have to say is worth listening to. As they’ve grown, their razor-sharp sensibilities have only gotten sharper, their brazen fuck-all attitude has become cemented even further, and they’ve truly made the hybrid punk-garage style their bitch. It’s almost certain that listeners are itching to lose a few brain cells and gain a few bruises in their crowd in the near future, and I can definitely say I’m among them.
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