Amyl and the Sniffers
Amyl and the Sniffers

(Rough Trade)


Amyl and The Sniffers have built a fearsome reputation for their chaotic live shows, during which frontwoman Amy Taylor crowd surfs and pours whiskey down the throats of people in the front row.

It’s a frenetic energy that the Melbourne quartet, who emerged from a shared house as a joke, have applied to their composition technique: their debut EP, Giddy Up, was written, self-recorded and released in twelve hours.

The rough and ready nature of their debut album suggests the material was written with a similar disregard to forethought. Cramming eleven songs into thirty minutes, they sound like they’re having a blast while thrashing out three-chord punk riffs in the style of AC/DC, and a little bit of Be Your Own Pet.

Sweaty and free of pretension, their ’70s-influenced punk and pub rock is designed for mosh pits and Wayne’s Worldstyle head banging. Barely contained by the rhythm section (Gus Romer on bass and Bryce Wilson on drums), Declan Martens’ guitar playing is brash and fast in a way that’s intentionally cartoonish.

There’s a similar tongue-in-cheek quality to the hollered lyrics, which sound like Courtney Barnett imitating Joan Jett. Primed for audience shout-a-longs, they’re largely built around repeated slogans and blue-collar stream-of consciousness (‘I work in a bar every single day for the minimum wage,’rages ‘Gacked On Anger’).

Their lack of frills has a fun immediacy, especially on the chanted backing vocals and breakdown of The Runaways lite ‘Got You’, but without the live atmosphere they often chug rather than party pop.