Melbourne pub-rockers Amyl and The Sniffers take songwriting to the extremes on their rip-roaring sophomore LP, Comfort To Me.
What happens when you throw four self-taught musos in a three-bedroom rental after two years of non-stop touring? One incredible sophomore album, apparently. Amyl and The Sniffers’ recording process usually travels at a rapid-fire pace (their first EP was recorded in less than 12 hours), but the spare time afforded from lockdown seemed to have benefited the crew on Comfort To Me.
The “luxury of cutting out the songs that were shit and focusing on the ones we loved” (lead singer Amy Taylor) results in a “darkly considered” project that’s more refined than their previous output while still maintaining the bands’ raw, persistent energy. Expectations were high, but definitely met with mixing by Nick Launey (Nick Cave) and mastering from Bernie Grundman (Michael Jackson, Prince).
Opener/lead single Guided By Angels builds hype with relentless bass, drums, and outback electrics. “Energy, it’s my currency”, Taylor quips in an offbeat rhythm, drawing influence from rap phrasing, one of her preferred genres.
Meanwhile, Freaks To The Front propels along like a tune from The Chats, with its suburban, no-fucks-given attitude, “talking sweating gurning off ya face,” and a speedy hook for all those freaks up the front. However, lyrics feel more pertinent on the urgent-sounding Choices, where Taylor spits heat at dweebs who delegitimise women’s ambitions and decisions.
Punk drums and vocals carry the hilariously honest Security, where the band try to convince the seccy to let them into the pub in the name of love. “I’m not that drunk!” For those of you guilty of talking the ears off pub security guards, make this your boozed-up anthem for the summer.
The fuzzed-up Hertz offers a cut-throat dance tempo, an irresistible guitar hook, and an old-school outback guitar solo with tapping and pitch bends to boot. It’s impressive how effortlessly Taylor’s hip-hop-inspired verse deliveries pair with the old-school rock ‘n’ roll – thrilling shit.
Speaking of thrilling, Taylor pulls off vulgar in a way only The Sniffers’ could pull it off on the grossly punk Maggots: “c’mon maggot put your maggots in me”. The scope widens once more on the unmissable Capital. Rhythm switch-ups keep the listening experience intense, as Taylor gets political without losing relatability:
“Slapping on the pokies and buying all the back and the Gov takes the big tax (Ca-ching!)
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Don’t Need A Cunt Like You To Love Me is one-and-a-half minutes of thrashing blues and liberating chaos. The boys even get a few shouts in there. Taylor returns to more serious content matter once more on Laughing, focusing on the outrageous double standards females are still held to. But to Taylor, getting laughed at only makes her stronger. Lightning-in-a-bottle punk has no time for bullshit, and neither does Amyl and The Sniffers.
Comfort To Me builds upon the bands’ spirited live-rock fever by tightening up the hooks and giving the lyrics a broader scope to attack with. Admittedly, we’re stirred up, stimulated, and psyched to hear it performed. In Taylor’s words, this LP is “me shadow-boxing on stage, covered in sweat, instead of sitting quietly in the corner”. Giddy up.
Listen to Comfort To Me below:
Comfort To Me is out now via B2B Records. Stream or buy your copy here.