Review: Amyl and The Sniffers’ Self-Titled Debut Album is a Punk Masterpiece

Amyl and The Sniffers Album Cover
Amyl and The Sniffers unveiled their debut album, and it’s chaotic, insightful, and enticing.

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Amyl and The Sniffers have been asserting their position in music since the release of their debut EP Giddy Up, which no one believes was recorded in the timespan of 12 hours as soon as they realized they wanted to be in a band. It’s not the only unbelievable part of the Australian punk quartet — their brand new self-titled album is a ridiculously flawless articulation of modern frustration and angst with an equally shocking production to back it up. For a debut album, it plays like a punk masterpiece.

Listen: Amyl and The Sniffers – Amyl and The Sniffers

It all starts with the invigorating “Starfire 500” that envelopes the listener in vibrant instrumentals. It feels like an extravagant entrance into another world, especially when vocalist Amy Taylor invites, “Star fire, do you wanna ride?” The lyrics detail an enticing woman through ingenious description, the first two lines of the album being, “Her legs are long like liquorish/ She’s a genie and you got one wish.” She is myth-like, almost reminiscent of a siren, and widely desired, and this is specific type of power is dispersed through the songs. It’s revisited most noticeably in “Control,” a simple, self-explanatory track. It’s taut and akin to a riot as Taylor chants “I like control!” over and over as if to reestablish that she’s in charge. “Shake Ya” seems to represent similar situations, when she recalls a sort of vague, sort of evident misbehavior and sings without remorse, “I’m working hard for a big return / I break some hearts, there’s lessons learned.” It becomes clear why it’s self-titled: it’s a proclamation of power.

Gacked On Anger” is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the band’s anger. The first verse plays like a protest chant:

I’m working off my ass
Every single day
For the minimum wage
And I don’t get paid

It resonates even greater when Taylor earnestly expresses, “I wanna help out the people on the street / But how can I help them when I can’t afford to eat?” It is one of the most important moments on the album and in punk. This track fits in the ethical, emotional, physical, and mental troubles of capitalism in less than two minutes, and it’s undeniably catchy. Amyl and The Sniffers have successfully managed to make government rebellion contagious.

Watch: “Cup of Destiny” – Amyl and The Sniffers

Cup Of Destiny” follows, demanding attention with a riff that catapults the listener straight into chaos, already leaving “Gacked On Anger” in the distant past. The attention span of the album is ridiculous — its sensory overload doesn’t let the listener process anything, and that’s essentially what Amyl and The Sniffers want: a second, third, fourth listen to fully understand the mayhem. It’s meant to overwhelm and distress in ways that feel vaguely meaningful. The same way Taylor needs to be kept on her toes — “You’ve lost my interest / I am not impressed” — the album is relentless enough to never lose anyone.

Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)” is the perfect grand finale. In its own ingenious ways, it’s ultimately the I-Can’t-Be-Tamed anthem, and it’s convincing and well-deserved at this point. The closing guitar solo is as fruitful as the opening in “Starfire 500,” cocooning the record in exhilaration and danger. Still, Amyl and The Sniffers will undoubtedly find ways to make this album even more intense and tumultuous in live performances.

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Amyl and The Sniffers Album Cover

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