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DMA'S - 'The Glow' Album Review


1. Never Before

2. The Glow

3. Silver

4. Life Is A Game Of Changing

5. Criminals

6. Strangers

7. Learning Alive

8. Hello Girlfriend

9. Appointment

10 . Round & Around

11. Cobracaine

This summer was going to be amazing wasn’t it? It felt like we all had something to be looking forward to: parties, gigs, finishing exams parties, graduation parties, school holiday parties, summer holidays, even just slightly nicer weather. And festivals.

Oh My God, festivals. I don’t know about you but I spend the whole year looking forward to festival season; I book my tickets early (I am the earliest of early birds), I look forward to the January when all the lineups are announced and then I agonise over whether or not I chose the right ones to go to. I scour the lineup of the festivals I’ve chosen, looking for band names I don’t know and then finding their music, to see if they’re worth watching. Of course, I do all this research, and by the time summer comes, I end up missing all the bands I wanted to see because I either get caught in a massive queue to get somewhere, or because I have the attention span of a gnat and get distracted by.. oh look, shiny thing, it looks so pretty, look how it reflects the light.

Where was I? Oh yes, festivals. Good aren’t they? Of course, all that has been taken from us this year and it’s difficult to not feel like the entire year has been ruined (maybe a bit over the top, but go with me here) festival organisers will be going through hell, trying their best to tread water, hold their shit together and get the show on again next year. And what of the artists? Many will have been relying on a busy summer to pay their bills, or to gain new fans and really make that break through.

Sydney’s DMA’S have certainly already gained a lot of traction, their sophomore album, ‘For Now’ made Number 13 in the UK album charts (and Number 5 in the Scottish charts, perhaps that’s why guitarist Johnny chose to exchange the Sydney sun for Edinburgh’s slightly less clement climate). This was going to be a busy summer for the band, they were due to tour their new album, ‘The Glow’ across the UK and were due to play Sounds of the City, Kendal, Tramlimes, Live at Leeds, Hit the North, amongst others.

The band already have fans (most notably, Liam Gallagher has described them as ‘biblical’) but this summer would have seen them gain legions more. I know this for a fact, dear reader, and I will tell you why, because this record is an absolute killer. Right from the get go with opener, ‘Never Before’, I know this is going to be something special. There are plenty of bands around at the minute who just copy what has gone before, they add nothing new and if anything, they take something away. DMA’S are not like them, they’re nostalgic but not derivative. As soon as the bass opens ‘Never Before’ with its Baggy inspired muted groove, I am wrapped in a musical blanket that could have come straight out of Factory Records. And then the beat kicks in. Oh my god, it’s like I’m coming up in the Hacienda, and by the time Tommy O’Dell’s shoegazing vocal washes over me, then I would fucking kill for this band. The title track is a more poppy affair, but the beat gives a hint of what’s to come later in the album. ‘Silver’ is up next and this is much more sedate, “I’m still coming down / You’re still coming round” sounds about right after the chemical excesses of the opening two tracks. There’s still time for more though. And here it is. ‘Life Is A Game Of Changing’ seems to come out of nowhere, it’s incredible. I realise I may be at risk of over egging this particular musical pudding, but this would genuinely stand alongside anything that New Order have ever recorded. Seriously. The intro beats and orchestral synth, leading up to the pulsing bass and euphoric vocal, is just sublime.

It’s over too quickly though and I’m left in a sweaty mess on the floor before Tommy’s angelic vocal cradles me into ‘Criminals’, an uplifting melody belying the sad vocal mulling over the end of a relationship. ‘Strangers’ and ‘Learning Alive’ rather pass me by in a haze of chiming guitars, they’re lovely songs but I fear I may be a spent force by this point. ‘Hello Girlfriend’ picks me up again, a squall of feedback before an acoustic leads to a bass that for half a second sounds almost Boogie Rock, and then that shimmery vocal again. ‘Appointment’ is yet another change of pace, this is almost reminiscent of the sound Fleet Foxes created beautifully, a near choral vocal with Johnny Took’s acoustic guitar. By the time ‘Round and Around’ and ‘Cobracaine’ have rounded off the album, I’m desperate to see DMA’S live, to dance to them, to embrace strangers, to fall further in love with their music. But that’s not happening any time soon (especially not the embracing bit).

Did I say earlier that the entire year had been ruined? Fear not, ladies and gentlemen, DMA’S have saved it.

Review - Jon Stokes

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