Acclaimed Melbourne-based punk act Amyl and The Sniffers — Amy Taylor (vocals), Gus Romer (bass), Bryce Wilson (drums) and Declan Martens (guitar) — formed back in 2016 and shortly after their formation, they wrote and self-recorded their debut EP Giddy Up. The following year, saw the release of the Big Attractions EP, which was packed as a double 12 inch EP with Giddy Up released through Homeless Records in Australia and Damaged Goods in the UK.
The band exploded into the international scene with a set at The Great Escape Festival, a series of sold out London area shows and a Stateside tour opening for JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. They added to a busy year with a headlining tours across both the UK and US before signing to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records for distribution across Australia and New Zealand and Rough Trade for the rest of the world. The year was capped off with a Q Awards nomination for Best New Act and won the $30,000 Levis Prize.
Building upon a rapidly growing profile took 2019’s SXSW by storm, and then promptly released their self-tiled, full-length debut to critical applause globally. The Aussie punk act’s debut further established — and cemented — a feral and anarchic take on ’77-era punk. And adding to a breakthrough year, the band won an ARIA Award for Best Rock Album.
The Aussie act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Comfort To Me is slated for a September 10, 2021 release through ATO Records. The quartet wrote the album while quarantining in the same house together during the pandemic — and the writing process found the band spending more time refining the album’s material than they had previously. “The nihilistic, live in the moment, positivity and panel beater rock-meets-shed show punk was still there, but it was better,” Amyl and The Sniffers’ Amy Taylor says in press notes. “The whole thing was less spontaneous and more darkly considered.”
“The amount of time and thought I put into the lyrics for this album is completely different from the EPs, and even the first record,” Taylor continues. “Half of the lyrics were written during the Australian bushfire season, when we were already wearing masks to protect ourselves from the smoke in the air. And then when the pandemic hit, our options were the same as everyone: go find a day job and work in intense conditions or sit at home and drown in introspection. I fell into the latter category. I had all this energy inside of me and nowhere to put it, because I couldn’t perform, and it had a hectic effect on my brain. My brain evolved and warped and my way of thinking about the world completely changed. Having to deal with a lot of authority during 2020 and realising my lack of power made me feel both more self destructive and more self disciplined, more nihilistic and more depressed and more resentful, which ultimately fuelled me with a kind of relentless motivation. I became a temporary monster. I partied more, but I also exercised heaps, read books and ate veggies. I was like an egg going into boiling water when this started, gooey and weak but with a hard surface. I came out even harder. I’m still soft on the inside, but in a different way.”
Sonically and aesthetically, Comfort To Me reportedly sees the band amping up their infectious and chaotic energy even higher. “People will use other bands as a sonic reference to make it more digestible and journalists will make it seem more pretentious and considered than it really is,” says Taylor, “but in the end this album is just us — raw self expression, defiant energy, unapologetic vulnerability.”
Comfort To Me‘s first single “Guided by Angels” is a riotous, mosh pit friendly ripper centered around Taylor’s frenetic energy and punchily delivered vocals, buzzing power chords, a relentlessly chugging bass line, pummeling drumming and a shout-a-long-with-a-raised-beer-in-your-hands hook. But at its core, the song is fueled by a defiant and unapologetic vulnerability, and a rare, unshakeable faith in goodness and possibility; that there may be good angels, right over your shoulder when you need the most. When the shit has hit the fan, and all seems bleak and hopeless — as it all too often does — play this loud, yell along with Taylor while her bandmates rip and feel the small comfort of the blood flowing in your body, the roar of your own voice, and the hope that it usually does get a small bit better.
Directed by John Angus Stewart, the cinematically shot visual for “Guided by Angels” follows the band driving around their hometown, vamping and preening for what could be album art photo shoots in various abandoned parts of town. While her bandmates coolly drive their little sedan or stand around watching, Taylor is an atomic bomb of furious and frenetic energy, exploding across your screen.
Today the band shares Comfort To Me’s pummeling first single “Guided by Angels” alongside a video directed by John Angus Stewart.