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Review: Amyl And The Sniffers – Comfort To Me

Comfort To Me or “The Duality Of Amy Taylor”? Either title would be suitable for the second album from Melbourne punks Amyl And The Sniffers.

In a beautiful profile by The Guardian writer Brodie Lancaster, Taylor insisted: “Don’t box me into your simple idea of me. It’s not as simple as it looks.” And she’s right. On Comfort To Me, Taylor – and by extension, “the boys”: guitarist Dec Martens, bassist Gus Romer and drummer Bryce Wilson – want to smash shit while also yearning for the pub. They take aim at the Tall Poppy Syndrome that persists in the Australian music scene. They allow themselves to feel vulnerable, and embrace those feelings. And of course, they tap into the increasing cynicism abound due to governments playing politics with our lives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

A lot happens on this record. No matter the messaging, Amyl And The Sniffers consistently deal in unmistakable riffs and solos, turbo energy and Taylor’s commanding lead vocals, the band’s power to remind us what we miss most right now – feeling alive again – to back it all up. Led by a fuzzy guitar and bass, ‘Hertz’ is a “fantasy song” made for life in lockdown. Taylor wants to hold hands, to go to the country and the beach, to go driving, and for you to love her. Never before has a chorus like “Take me to the beach, take me to the country, I want to go driving” sounded so massive. It’s just one of numerous fist-pumping moments on this incredibly fun album.

On the flipside, there’s ‘Capital’, wherein Amyl And The Sniffers swim in the river during Australia’s horrific bushfire season. The band find themselves engaging with politics for the first time: “Australia’s burning, but I am not learning to be more conscious / Farmers pray for rain while the landscape torches,” Taylor yells. Amyl And The Sniffers care more than you think.

Behind the tough, raucous exterior of the band, there is a palpable willingness to learn and to grow. Not content with being just another loudmouth or typical bogan who doesn’t know much about anything, Taylor can’t be pigeonholed – and neither can the band’s music. Amyl And The Sniffers are a completely whole band – a band of soulmates, if you will. In the ’80s, as frontwoman of the Divinyls, Chrissy Amphlett broke new ground for women in music. Four decades on, Amy Taylor continues the narrative on Comfort To Me.

Security, won’t you let me into your pub so I can finally see the almighty Sniffers live!?

Comfort To Me is out September 10 via B2B Records.
Click here to pre-order a copy.