This DMA’s article was written by Jamie Muir, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Ben Kendall.
Nostalgia stands as a tricky beast, through modern life in all its various facets. Escaping and dismissing it seems to conjure up oddly mixed reactions, and yet when imitated badly, results in an abruptly short moment of stardom and a wrap around the knuckles. Aussie trio DMA’s stand on this precipice as a band evidently influenced by an era of music, yet embracing such as style within their own sound. Making waves since emerging from the outback, debut LP ‘Hills End’ has been greatly anticipated, and the results are a collection of defiant, modern serenades that will resonate with a range of generations.
Never one to skirt around the clear 90’s throwback, opener ‘Timeless’ is a cascading burst of energy, unrelenting in its drive and passion. It’s a commitment evident through the snarling vocals of frontman Tommy O’Dell, with a voice that can sit amongst influencers Liam Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft with its potent delivery, juxtaposed by the deftly ease in which he approaches each track. Such posture and swagger masks an extremely vulnerable and endearing record, full of emotional highs and lows, demonstrated by ‘Step Up The Morphine’, lead single ‘Delete’ and the psychedelic-gaze of ‘Blown Away’, all serenading with a confidence beyond their years.
In full swing DMA’s are unstoppable, ‘Too Soon’ sounds like a long lost Madchester anthem with pop hooks and filthy breakdowns rubbing against each other, whilst the post-punk undertones of ‘Melbourne’ seem to soundtrack the lives of a generation, capturing something quintessentially British in a glistening indie groove.
Instantly recognisable yet refreshing all the same, ‘Straight Dimensions’ highlights exactly what makes ‘Hills End’ such a powerful record, making a sound that many grew up on like breast milk into a modern and invigorating creature of its own, straddling that line between imitation and influence perfectly. In album closer ‘Play It Out’, it blends effortlessly, driving a dagger into the idea that Britpop, as a sound, can be characterised solely by nationality and an era in time. It’s undeniably catchy, and within the sheer brilliance of its melodies, becomes an instant live favourite for years to come.
Record stand-out ‘So We Know’ is a low-burning acoustic reflection on life and love, that builds into a euphoric crescendo of unmatched psychedelic blends and garage riffs. Mastering the sound they’ve become accustomed to, it’s a daring and electric moment that shows glimpses of their sound morphing into different eras and territories, with a swagger and a charm many bands would long for.
Rising in the shadows many have cast upon the band, DMA’s excel within their own bravado and swagger on ‘Hills End’, and in turn makes for an excellent album full of hooks and summer vibrancy from start to finish. Sure of themselves and the music they’re making, it’s a record that would fit effortlessly within that mid-90’s scene, yet revels in its 21st century urgency and vitality. A statement of intent from a trio destined to take on the world.
‘Hills End’ is out now via Infectious Records/BMG/Mom + Pop Music.