We live by means of what typically really feel like finish occasions for style. If recording studios had home windows, rulebooks could be flying out of them continually, endangering passersby. Crossover smashes akin to Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road have been apparent manifestations of this shift. However colouring inside the stylistic strains has been in decline for a whereas. Few, it appears, need a inventive life with out hyphens or slashes.
Into this free for all come Amyl and the Sniffers, a punk rock band who do one easy factor very effectively. That is time-honoured stuff – bass judder, scorched earth guitar, pummelling from the equipment – however Amyl and the Sniffers take what may very well be a played-out sound someplace sudden, channelling singer Amy Taylor’s rage and joyous abandon. Rippling with sinew and seemingly limitless life power, Taylor is like a boxer crossed with a wooden sprite; typically it’s a little like listening to Poly Styrene fronting Motörhead.
She seems at the begin of tonight’s set sporting a saggy beige jacket. Beneath are purple plastic sizzling pants and a lace-up prime worn with boots. The impact is much extra WWF wrestler than pin-up. The Sniffers’ drummer, Bryce Wilson, isn’t sporting a lot both; plus, who cares? “I may very well be in the sluttiest outfit, however you continue to gotta respect a bitch,” Taylor publicizes, to whoops. This sold-out night time has been postponed twice by Covid; an additional night time was added to satisfy demand. Subsequent 12 months, the Sniffers might be playing much bigger venues.
All through Taylor’s hour or so on the stage, she struts, flexes her biceps, does press-ups, stands on screens, shadow-boxes, climbs the lighting rig and sits on a speaker. She shakes her bleached blond mullet at any time when guitarist Dec Mehrtens solos succinctly. The band’s one curveball is a cowl of the disco-era monitor Born to Be Alive by Patrick Hernandez. However that’s much less a celebration of dance music than it’s a reflection of Amyl and the Sniffers’ personal pulsating joie de vivre.
In 2019, when Australia might now not comprise them, the Sniffers made a global impression with their self-titled first album. These curt songs had been simply boiled right down to sticky essences: resentment, partying, lust, frustration. The enchantment then was that Taylor managed to place an authentic spin on so many themes. Whereas songs akin to GFY (“Go fuck your self”) stay self-explanatory tonight, tunes akin to Gacked on Anger describe a lifetime of unrelenting monetary stress and dry-eyeball rage.
There the Sniffers may need remained, however for a couple of things. Taylor did a blistering visitor spot on a Sleaford Mods monitor Nudge It final 12 months, alerting different demographics to her snarling brio. And the Sniffers’ second album, Consolation to Me, launched in September, upped the ante significantly with extra precision-tooled music – and a wider window into Taylor’s mind.
A lot of the new songs stay pithy. However whereas sticking to the band’s thuggish primalness, in addition they do sudden issues. Hertz is, of all issues, a taut, nagging punk earworm about wanting to flee to the nation. And metaphysics. “I let you know, time isn’t linear, particularly after we’re right here on this automotive,” she yells.
On the face of it, a music akin to Security finds Taylor charming a hard-hearted pub bouncer. “I’m not on the lookout for bother, I’m on the lookout for love!” Inside, although, is a brooding sense that Taylor is in some way completely different from the “normies” the bouncer has simply let in.
Freaks to the Front finds Taylor seething that she’s “quick”, “shy” and “fucked up”, however individuals would do effectively to get out of her means. Every monitor appears to drill down additional into her inside world, swinging between tough-girl affirmations and nuanced vulnerability. Knifey is a very feminine howl of resentment at the hazard inherent in getting residence; in the music, Taylor carries a weapon however received’t use it. Snakes takes us into her childhood, the place there have been “snakes in the dunny, snakes in the chook pen” (hen run); “I used to be feral,” she avows, “I nonetheless am.”
The extraordinary Guided by Angels kicks off the album and the gig with Taylor’s private anthem. “Power! It’s my foreign money!” she howls repeatedly. She reckons angels are “on my physique”. Usually you’d increase an eyebrow at anybody’s shut relationship with winged beings. Right here, although, the in any other case down-to-earth Taylor is convincing: it appears not simply potential, however logical that one thing irrepressible and inexplicable possesses her.