Melbourne, Australia is where the action is. This debut LP by Melbourne’s Amyl And The Sniffers is absolute proof that rock is alive and well. On their Rough Trade Records debut, these Aussie youngsters spin out eleven scuzzy, high energy, proto-punk tunes. They are short and to the point, the band steals from everybody good (Damned, Radio Birdman, AC/DC, Stooges et al): this is definitely the shit.
These Dirtbag Diamonds open their album with ‘Starfire 500,’ which has a lengthy boogie-metal intro one could imagine being played as the crowd waits for frontwoman Amy Taylor to take the stage. Let the headbanging begin! When Amy comes in, she sounds like Joan Jett’s little sister. There’s plenty of soloing from guitarist Dec Martins; things are off to a good start. The sped-up Stooges riff of ‘Gacked On Anger’ is right on time, filled with bassist Gus Romer’s monolithic throb. ‘Cup Of Destiny’ is AC/DC played at Ramones hyperspeed, featuring drummer Bryce Wilson holding together the stops and starts. There’s even a nod to Queens Of The Stone Age in the bridge. The Damned bass line that starts ‘GFY’ points to the pissed off title of this one ‘Go F*ck Yourself.’ It’s a joyous punk hardcore thrash that Amy blasts through.
‘Angel’ is slightly slower, a true love song, with call and response backing vocals and a very Vapors/Lambrettas sounding guitar riff. ‘Monsoon Rock’ has another sped up AC/DC riff that is incredible, all packed into two minutes and twenty-five seconds, led with a typical Sniffers lyric:
I ain’t gonna lie, I ain’t gonna sugar coat it
The rockin’ rock was happening’/ And it was fucking lit
The insane boogie of ‘Control’ is like Zeppelin at 100,000 rpm, with a snotty punk female killing it on vocals. ‘Got You’ is another twisted love tale, that breaks into Ramones territory: it’s catchy and anthemic. ‘Punisha’ hits a Motorhead vein. I could definitely hear Lemmy singing this; it’s a thick slab of juicy dirtbag rock. ‘Shake Ya’ has an Interpol-tinged intro riff before veering into full-on AC/DC action. Fast and furious and rocking. Album closer, ‘Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled),’ is AC/DC’s ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ played at punk tempo. It’s a great way to end a great LP.