Mick Fletcher and Alex Kish are touting a band, that's a wagon I want to be riding!
The way I approach Amyl and The Sniffers' debut album is to put any hype or expectations completely out of mind. Based entirely on its own merits, it's an exciting and tremendously enjoyable blend of punk and hard rock in the storied Aussie tradition. Clearly this is a far less raw-sounding version of Amyl and The Sniffers. Yet a more "produced" sound actually beefs up the band's attack. Producer Ross Orton really seems to understand what this band is all about. He elicits a tougher, more powerful sound that really plays up the Sniffers' love for '70s rock riffs. Just listen to how much harder the album version of "Cup Of Destiny" hits compared to last year's single (which I also loved)! And given the elapsed years between the recording of this album and the previous EP Big Attraction, it's no surprise that the band shows considerable growth on this release. "GFY" is raging, pissed-off punk rock at its finest. It's the perfect song to crank loud in the car as you vent your frustrations after a shit day. In a similar spirit, the pummeling "Gacked On Anger" is a veritable anthem for a generation of young people who are underemployed, broke, and at their wits' end. The aptly-titled "Punisha" is a swift kick in the teeth, NWOBHM style. On the other end of the spectrum, it's hard to imagine the Amyl and The Sniffers of two years ago being able to pull off songs as overtly "pop" as "Angel" and "Got You". And "Shake Ya" is the kind of sing-along hard rockin' anthem that I've been
dying to hear on the mainstream airwaves for the past 25 years!
Having been such a big fan of the more straight-forward '77 style punk of Big Attraction, I did question whether I'd be as enthusiastic about the direction the band was taking with this album. But I have to say I like this record a lot. Inspired quite obviously by multiple generations of Aussie bands, the Sniffers combine punk and hard rock in a way that feels totally natural. I suppose Amy Taylor's vocals are something you either love or hate. For me, they will always be the very best thing about this band. Everything else flows out of her charisma, sass, and sheer force of personality. I don't think it would be possible for Amyl and The Sniffers to be anything other than a punk band. They certainly have not gone mainstream. The mainstream has come to them. In the meantime, they'll just keep on tearing the roof off of every pub, club, and basement venue that will have them. This really is one hell of a band. Let's enjoy them.