AMYL AND THE SNIF­FERS

Mel­bourne sharpie re­vival­ists atom-smash punk and boo­gie rock to blow the doors-off the bot­tle shop.

Mojo (UK) - - What Goes On! - Pat Gil­bert

There is a hair­cut in rock so un­cool it dare not speak its name (of­ten): the mul­let, as var­i­ously sported by Bono, Michael Bolton and The Jam’s Bruce Fox­ton. Alarm­ingly, this may soon change thanks to the ex­po­nen­tially ris­ing stock of Mel­bourne’s Amyl And The Snif­fers, an un­al­loyed bunch of head-kick­ing punk rack­e­teers whose post-gig rit­u­als in­clude hack­ing off fans’ locks to em­u­late their own un­re­pen­tant long-at-the-back couiffage; and, as their name sug­gests, snort­ing the semi-le­gal gay scene drug, amyl ni­trate. “Be­cause of our name, loads of kids bring amyl to our gigs,” ex­plains 22-year-old singer Amy Louise Tay­lor (hence their ‘Amyl’ moniker). “Our bass player Gus thinks they should bring more. It’s pretty good, but it does give you a headache…” The Snif­fers’ mul­let look is a know­ing nod to the mid-’70s Mel­bourne-cen­tred ‘Sharpie’ scene, a now much-mythol­o­gised pre-punk sub­cul­ture based around a sk­in­head/glam im­age, gang vi­o­lence and back-to-ba­sics boo­gie rock from acts like Coloured Balls, Sky­hooks and an em­bry­onic AC/DC. Those touch­stones, to­gether with a clas­sic Ra­mones/Slits four-chord ar­moury, glee­fully stoke the Snif­fers’ sound. But it’s Tay­lor’s bo­gan sass and lyrics about Mel­bourne punk lowlife – ti­tles such as Blowjob, I’m Not A Loser, ’70s Street Munchies and Mole (Sniff Sniff) speak vol­umes – which el­e­vate the group into a gen­uinely thrilling cross­cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence. “I don’t think of the lyrics as funny or shock­ing,” says Tay­lor, whose mu­si­cal he­roes are Nancy Si­na­tra and Dolly Par­ton, and, as like her band­mates, has home-made tatts and is par­tial to a drop of ‘goon’ (cheap wine in a box). “I just sing what I’m think­ing. I’m not try­ing to be shock­ing or sexy, it’s just stuff in my brain.” The band formed one day in Fe­bru­ary 2016, when Tay­lor and her St Kilda house­mates De­clan Martens (gui­tar), Cal­lum New­ton (bass) and Bryce Wil­son (drums) de­cided to write and record some songs in her bed­room. Twenty-four hours later, the rau­cous Giddy Up EP was posted on Band­camp, even­tu­ally at­tract­ing the at­ten­tion of Flight­less Records – home of King Giz­zard And The Lizard Wizard – who funded 2017’s su­per-punky Big At­trac­tion EP. A change of bass player – in came gin­ger-haired Gus Romer (“he al­ready had the right hair­cut”) – fol­lowed, as did sup­port slots with Foo Fight­ers and Oz punk leg­ends Cos­mic Psy­chos. The Snif­fers are set to visit the UK later this month, where their grow­ing cult has seen their Lon­don Lex­ing­ton show sell out weeks in ad­vance. “It’s grow­ing or­gan­i­cally,” says Tay­lor. “A lot of peo­ple hate us, but I don’t care.”

“I’M NOT TRY­ING TO BE SHOCK­ING, IT’S JUST STUFF IN MY BRAIN.”

Amy Louise Tay­lor

Cel­e­brate the mul­let: out­back row­dies Amyl And The Snif­fers (from left) Gus Romer, Amy Louise Tay­lor, Bryce Wil­son and De­clan Martens.

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