With an energy befitting a tiny tornado, Australian punk crew Amyl and the Sniffers deliver a series of punches to the jaw with their rollicking self-titled debut. Clocking in at less than 30 minutes, Amyl and the Sniffers is an absolute thrill, the ideal soundtrack to a sweat-and-beer-covered bar brawl. Here, black eyes and bruises are a welcome trade for the fun and complete abandon within, which owes much to the band's electrifying vocalist, Amy Taylor. Channeling the spirits of forebears Wendy O. Williams, Karen O, and Poly Styrene, she is a riotous force, veering from the mighty ("Gacked on Anger") to the breakneck ("GFY," "Punisha") and the flirtatious ("Got You") to the vulnerable ("Angel"), all within the span of a few songs. While Taylor is undeniably the star of the show, the group -- guitarist Dec Martens, drummer Bryce Wilson, and bassist Gus Romer -- shine when they are given space to breathe. From the instrumental prelude to "Starfire 500" to the steadily building "Control," Amyl and the Sniffers prove there's more beneath the surface than their scuzzy, mosh-friendly, three-pronged attack. Of their finest moments, the close of "Shake Ya" soars in an all-too-brief minute of psychedelic noodling before charging straight into the epic rock & roll meltdown of closer "Some Mutts (Can't Be Muzzled)." Although the album is over just as quickly as it started, the quartet crams enough into this brisk blast that it remains a satisfying, physically exhausting experience, and the sheer excitement of hearing straightforward punk rock attacks such as "Monsoon Rock" is hard to contain. Amyl and the Sniffers is a promising opening salvo from a young band who match a rabid hunger with the chops to back it up.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung