Comfort to Me

Amyl and the Sniffers

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Comfort to Me Review

by Neil Z. Yeung

During a whirlwind 2019, Melbourne-based punk quartet Amyl and the Sniffers were showered with international acclaim for their ARIA-winning breakthrough debut and incendiary live shows. And just as quickly as they arrived on the scene, they were forced into lockdown when the world was shuttered by a pandemic and Australia was hit with one of the worst bushfire seasons on record. Hunkered down in the same home, the band funneled their pent-up energy and produced a hardened and (relatively) polished work that managed to be not only as ferocious as their raw debut but even better executed and more focused. That controlled chaos, Comfort to Me, is an explosive thrill, bursting at the seams with Dec Martens' chugging riffs, Bryce Wilson's bashing drums, Gus Romer's threatening basslines, and Amy Taylor's charisma and defiance. An absolute force of nature, Taylor remains the star of the show, even as the band have boosted their attack to create an evolved monster fueled by anger, frustration, and existential dread. Whipped immediately into a frenzy with "Guided By Angels," Comfort is a non-stop romp, frothing with blood, sweat, and spit. The no-frills hardcore of raucous headbangers like "Freaks to the Front" and "Don't Need a C**t (Like You to Love Me)" launch listeners into the mosh pit, while groove-heavy, L7-esque lurchers such as "Laughing," "Choices," and "Snakes" get the body moving as the imaginary boots of a crowd surfer swing precariously close to another concussion. While every song is a highlight in its own right, "Hertz" is a standout in the band's catalog, a new wave buzzsaw that piles on a melodic groove, soaring guitar solo, and Taylor's escapist demands to "Take me to the beach/Take me to the country!" Her lyrics are the secret weapon on Comfort to Me, an evolution forced by global turmoil and simply growing up, veering from self-empowerment and newfound freedom ("Choices," "Laughing," and "Don't Fence Me In") to larger issues such as misogyny, climate change, politics, human rights, and more (which are tackled on the heady "Capital" and the frustrated "Knifey"). Their rapid growth is as head-spinning as the songs themselves, lending a triumphant air to Comfort to Me that keeps Amyl and the Sniffers primed and ready to conquer the world -- again.

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