Artist: Amyl and the Sniffers
Album: Comfort to Me
Genre: Punk Rock/Post-Punk/Alternative Rock
Label: Rough Trade
As of late, I’ve been trying to stay away from the easy and often uninspired mention of the pandemic when it comes to my write-ups of new music, but the fact of the matter is, it’s nearly impossible, and maybe a little irresponsible to not mention the impact COVID and lockdown has had on the music scene. Whether it be the frequent cancellations of tours, or the music that has been created as a reaction to the stir craziness of isolation, we’ve hit a point where the whole music world has collectively been forced to endure the same thing, so of course the mention of COVID is inevitable. An album that epitomizes the feeling of wanting to punch the walls or to be able to do something as simple as driving to your favorite spot to order fucking fish and chips is “Amyl and the Sniffers'” new album Comfort to Me. The Australian quartet are no strangers to riotous Punk Rock highly energized and ferociously enticing, but what happens when you take that same energy and lock it in a house with no access to the things in the outside world that create normalcy in everyday life? That energy gets amplified of course. The band wrote the majority of this album during lockdown, and the proof is in tracks like “Hertz” and “Guided by Angels,” tracks that convey the feelings that are brought on by isolation, and even those moments of existentialism like on the track “Capital.” “Existing for the sake of existing, meaning disappears,” shouts lead singer Amy Taylor on what is possibly the heaviest track on the album. Those guitar riffs, they bring to mind Kill ‘Em All era “Metallica” every time I hear them, which perfectly echoes the nihilistic nature of the track. Lockdown played a role in this album no doubt, but merely labeling this a “lockdown album” would do a disservice to the band, because the subject matter will resonate with anyone at any point in time. Divisiveness isn’t anything new. We faced it even before the pandemic. Marginalized people have always been victims of prejudice and hate, having to fear walking home alone late at night or just simply being themselves out in public. It’s an unfair reality that fortunately has been brought to light in recent years, but still continues to be smothered by social norms that stifle any progress or innovation, so it’s important to have anthems such as “Freaks to the Front,” “Choices,” “Don’t Fence Me In,” and “Knifey” to inspire and to speak on the anxieties many face on a daily basis. Though the album doesn’t break new ground sonically, it still sounds fresh in a genre that continues to inspire many, and the lyrical content consists of the most important subject matter that people shouldn’t just skim over.
Written By: Steven Sandoval