Amyl and the Sniffers - Amyl and the Sniffers - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Amyl and the Sniffers - Amyl and the Sniffers

by Kevin Orton Rating:8 Release Date:2019-05-24
Amyl and the Sniffers
Amyl and the Sniffers

“You sniff it, it lasts for 30 seconds and then you have a headache - and that's what we're like!” That’s how Amy Taylor describes her band. Naming your outfit after amyl nitrate and sporting mullets is certainly one way to get noticed. Playing hard as nails, speedy Rock & Roll is another. Musically, it's Husker Du, Black Flag, and the Stooges. Yeah, we’ve heard it all before. But isn’t that the point? As Neil Young once sang, “Rock & Roll will never die.” And here’s the story of Johnny Rotten. This is neo-Punk 101 played fast and dangerous. And Amy Taylor is your punk as shit cheerleader, chanting out put-downs and one-liners with all the panache of an Aussie Artful Dodger.

Where bands like Courtney Love's Hole mined similar influences with a patina self-conscious posturing, there’s none of that here. With bad hair cuts like this, the agenda isn’t to pose for magazines. One listen to ‘Starfire 500’ and its clear they’ve come to rock and rock hard. ‘Gacked On Anger’ is a furious whirl on sarcasm. On occasion, I'll admit it’s all a touch cutesy. But Taylor certainly has charisma. And musically, we may have heard it all before but the energy they put into it makes it sound refreshing. Not rehashed. That said, there’s isn’t a lot of variety going on. Amyl and the Sniffers have their formula and they’re sticking to it. ‘Cup of Destiny’ and ‘GFY’ (Go Fuck Yourself) are pounded out with the same intensity as ‘Gacked’ and it can all sound a touch interchangeable.

On ‘Angel’ they dial it back a notch, throw in some glam hooks and promises of, “I’ll be your little angel”. But she’s not exactly happy about playing the part. ‘Monsoon Rock’ follows, with a barrage of Stooges Funhouse riffs (specifically ‘1970’) and an emotional weather report that is pure fun. Where ‘Control’ is pretty indistinguishable from the rockers that preceded it, ‘Got You’ is an album standout with its mix of sass and unabashed refrains like, “Walk in the room and I start gushing.” As far as love songs go, this is truly the sound of gushing. And where ‘Punisha’ is paint by numbers Punk, ‘Shake Ya’ is irresistible Ramones “Hey Ho Let’s Go” dance Rock.

Their debut ends with quite possibly their silliest song, ‘Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)’. All of which goes to show that Amyl and the Sniffers aren’t out to wow you with their musical versatility or lyrical profundity, so much as their furious desire to Rock. They make no bones or apology for drawing on the Punk tradition of the Sex Pistols, Ramones and Stooges. But toss them a little Royal Trux DIY attitude for good measure. Originality is not the point here. What’s more, it's an overrated notion. The point is fast and furious Rock and Roll. Which isn’t all that easy to pull off these days. Where so many other bands of this kind come off as contrived and careerist, there’s none of that going on here. There’s a genuine commitment to the racket being made and they really have no other agenda than to make it. It’s all about personality and energy and good old-fashioned fun. And there’s nothing wrong with that.  As bands progress, they tend to lose what brought them recognition in the first place. And who knows where this band will go. But there’s a lot of talent here and an unfeigned understanding of Rock and Roll. All I can say is, they caught my ear and I’m looking forward to their next move.  

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