Photo Credit: Jamie Wdziekonski
Amyl and the Sniffers are named after a certain type of drug that has been used recreationally for certain naughty purposes since the ’70s. Vocalist Amy Taylor says of the chemical “So you sniff it, it lasts for 30 seconds and then you have a headache – and that’s what we’re like!” There has never been a better and more concise description of a band’s general sound than this. Amyl and the Sniffers get you briefly but nicely all messed up.
Formed in Balaclava, Melbourne Amyl and the Sniffers have been putting out juvenile delinquent music since 2016. Mulleted and tight jeaned, the sharpie subculture informs them visually and sonically; you can hear that they grew up on a steady diet of Lobby Lloyde and Rose Tattoo. Singer Amy Taylor, as undeniably cute as she is, sounds like Lemmy. You know, if Lemmy had been a young woman from a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.
Comfort To Me is Amyl and the Sniffers’ second studio album. The sophomore effort is always tricky for a new band, having the pressure to carry on whatever momentum they created with their debut but always the expectation that they bring something new. With this joint, Amy and her boys break no new ground but they do bring wrecking ball energy.
Let’s examine the first couplets off of the album opener “Guided by Angels”: “Guided by angels, but they’re not heavenly // They’re on my body and they guide me heavenly //The angels guide me heavenly, heavenly.” What? I’m sorry, but what do you mean by this? But that is kind of the point. The song is about that special rush you get when things are going a certain type of way when you are operating beyond words. This isn’t Shakespeare, but Shakespeare never made anyone dance to my knowledge either so it’s a wash.
“No More Tears” on the other hand is beautifully written, and when Amy sings “Wish I could love me for all of my flaws // Like I love you for all yours,” it is a moving moment despite the amps cranked up to eleven. “Freaks To The Front”, my favorite cut on this album, is a pure, rowdy party song. An Oi! Influenced invitation to the dance floor. “Knifey” sounds like a ballad till you listen closer and realize it is a lament about the persistence of predation and how to deal with it.
Along with the utterly brilliant “Don’t Need a C*nt (Like You to Love Me)” is a song about the necessity of women knowing their worth that Beyoncé would maybe want to cover if Beyoncé railed trucker speed and carried a butterfly knife regularly. What I am driving at is that this isn’t Leonard Cohen’s level of understated lyricism. What it is though is raw, honest, and at times moving in its vulnerability. Comfort To Me is the album you need when it is Friday at 5 pm or when you want it to be.