Thursday, September 23, 2021

Amyl and The Sniffers show us what they’re made in explosive sophomore release, ‘Comfort to Me’

Two years after making waves with their debut self-titled album, Amyl and The Sniffers have returned with their newest record, ‘Comfort To Me’. 

It’s this punchy, red-hot and completely unabashedly authentic blend of punk rock and pub rock influences that just chews you up and spits you up in just over half an hour. 

This album is truly unrelenting, with nine of the thirteen songs having a run time of under three minutes, creating something that comes out swinging and doesn’t stop until it hears the bell. 


Comfort To Me’ is this high adrenaline, mosh-inducing punk record that proves the band, composed of Amy Taylor, Bryce Wilson, Dec Martens and Gus Romer, has lost none of its edge. This second studio album from the Melbourne based four-piece has allowed them to show their versatility as a band and build upon their musicianship and songwriting. 


In a recent interview with NME, frontwoman Amy Taylor explained that “We needed to make a whole new thing, higher production and all that, we wanted it to sound f*cking awesome.”

And now, with the album finally released, “f*cking awesome is certainly one way to put it. The opening track ‘Guided by Angels’ captures that spit-in-your-face defiance that just feels integral to the band’s attitude. On it, Taylor sings “Energy, good energy and bad energy/ I've got plenty of energy”, something that’s blatantly clear from the start - energy is something this band has in spades. The song's intro beats like a heart before bursting into song, providing this living current that pumps throughout the track. It’s a fantastic opener that sets the bar for the rest of the album.

Another change on this newest release is the depth of the songwriting and the more direct messages as the band take a more overtly political stance. The best example of this can be found in the songs ‘Capital’ and ‘Choices’. 

Drawing upon that New York Hardcore sound with those heavier riffs and lyrically, it brings out this anger to create a call to arms, with some gang vocals thrown in for good measure. ‘Capital’ is a song full of righteous fury, resentment for a government that’s left people behind. With lines like “Am I an animal?/ Do I care at all?”, it’s clear to see their frustration at the current state of affairs but there are also moments of self-awareness, with the line “I only just started learning basic politics”. ‘Choices’ is similarly angry and politically driven, focused on bodily autonomy (“My choice my own/ My voice my own/ My body my own/ I own it, I own it"). Both are these well-crafted and incredibly socially relevant bangers that display the band’s growth between releases. The messages don’t feel like inauthentic virtue signalling but a proud statement on issues this band holds dear. 

Another side that the band shows off on this album is a more vulnerable one. Lyrically a much wider array of themes and desires are explored on ‘Comfort To Me’. The track ‘Hertz’ still has that trademark crunchy, punchy pub rock sound but is this hopeful, exciting love song about wanting to go and see all that the world has to offer outside of “the grey walls the city”. It’s a sentiment that can be widely related to after months in lockdown. ‘Maggot’ is another track that despite the somewhat grotesque comparison of maggots wriggling in a carcass to the feelings of love, is truly quite sweet. Taylor sings of “Warm happiness/ right there in my chest”, something endearing and once again relatable, showing that being angry at the world isn’t the only emotion a punk band can write about. 

However, it’s not all smiles. Songs like ‘No More Tears’ and ‘Knifey’, while still personal, dig into darker territory, with Taylor stating on ‘No More Tears’, “Wish I could love me for all of my flaws/ Like I love you for all yours” and “We know what the past is/ But we do not know what's next/ I've got this feeling that it might not be alright”. It’s got this vulnerable and surprisingly confessional nature as Taylor not only shares her struggles with loving herself but also her uncertainty towards what the future holds. 


The track ‘Knifey’ is similarly open with the listener with the lines “All I ever wanted was to walk by the park/ All I ever wanted was to walk by the river/ see the stars”. Despite the rawness of its lyrics, there's a mournfulness, a lament to what could be if things were different.

This approach to crafting an album and ultimately an image of the band can be summed up in the song 'Don’t Fence Me In'. Its sentiment is impossible to avoid, with the lines “I’m not in your scene/ That sh*t’s limiting/ I like elements of everyone and everything”. It’s an anthem to fight back against all the constraints, limits and expectations that are simply a barrier to be torn down for a band as hungry and ambitious as Amyl and The Sniffers. To put things in their own words, they’re “born to be big”. 

Comfort To Me’ is a perfect follow-up album for a band that’s doing as much as Amyl and The Sniffers. It takes everything so good about their debut LP and cranks it up to eleven without it ever being “too much”. 

It hones in on the crafting and the production of the songs without compromising the grungy, salt of the earth energy that the band and its music thrives off of to create a diverse catalogue of songs that ranges from inspiring to touching to downright danceable and everything in between. As far as sophomore albums go, this one is nothing short of perfect.

Morgan Springer

Image: ‘Comfort To Me’ Official album artwork (PRESS)

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