Album Review: DMA’s – The Glow

By Live4ever - Posted on 07 Jul 2020 at 8:18am

The Glow

When Noel Gallagher sang Half The World Away he wasn’t thinking about DMA’s – the Sydney-based trio of Tommy O’Dell, Matt Mason, and Johnny Took didn’t form until 2012 – but it’s always sounded like, even from that distance, they were listening intently to him.

As proof, their first two albums (2016’s Hill’s End and For Now, released two years later) owed an obvious debt to Britpop-era ennui, a trait that in the UK especially has made them arena fillers and much loved by a tribe who identify less and less with what indie rock comes up with for them.

Given that here noticeable musical progress has always been another scene’s problem, the Australians couldn’t have been blamed for some voluntary inertia of their own. But whilst The Glow doesn’t tear up history, it infuses their sound with enough club inspired difference to keep the idea of making new friends a possibility.

For O’Dell, fresh horizons were inevitable (“We’ve always loved electronic dance music, so it was just a matter of time before we made an album like this.”). Having taken the decision to draft in Stuart Price as producer, they certainly can’t be accused of not fully embracing it, as the New Order inspired first single Life Is A Game Of Changing demonstrates. Inspired by Took’s experience of living in Edinburgh, its bubbling four-to-the-floor and Hook-esque riff was a euphoric statement of intent, a drop straight into their groove that the title-track then underlines in bold.

As well as being prepared for accusations of pandering to current trends, the band are also ready for the counter argument that real emotional insight is at a premium; they have that covered too. The Glow itself is a reference to the constant feeling of needing to be somewhere better, while the typically elegiac Silver – essentially one long terrace-friendly chorus – is about keeping relationships anchored in a world of constant uncertainty and change.

At its root though this is as much about how for DMA’s things have stayed the same as much as they’ve changed: piano ballad Learning Alive could’ve been written at any time in the last few years, even risking a key change or two. There’s little option elsewhere but to sit back and admire Hello Girlfriend, with its barefaced Stone-Roses-meets-Beach-Boys melodies, while the sweetly wistful Appointment will be triggering bear/man-hugs at a crowded venue somewhere near you as soon as happiness, beer and smokes are all allowed back in the same place.

As DMA’s have found, being a disciple doesn’t mean that you’re not able to embrace all of what makes something work. The Glow takes fewer risks with their hard won reputation than on the surface it seems it might, but it confirms them as full of ideas about a future which won’t be stuck on the past.


Andy Peterson

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