Anticipated release from Britpop trio engages listeners
After delaying their release three months, Australian Britpop revivalist trio DMA’s is back with their third record, The Glow. Still paying homage to bands like The Chemical Brothers, New Order and The Killers, this release finds DMA’s coming into their own with a distinct personal sound.
For their latest effort, the band, comprised of vocalist Tommy O’Dell, lead guitarist Matt Mason and acoustic guitarist Johnny Took, joined forces with award-winning producer, Stuart Price, who’s worked with major artists like New Order and Madonna. DMA’s have always known how to write solid songs, evident by how successful their very first single was, but with Price’s influence, every track on The Glow feels massive.
The opener, “Never Before,” tosses listeners in with a repeating guitar lick and moments later, the electronic work kicks in. From the get-go, O’Dell’s voice proves to be an unlikely powerhouse as he cries, “Stop me, I lost myself/ I’ll be moving on/ You’re the one I want,” over and over again. Reminiscent of early Arctic Monkeys, this track propels the record’s momentum forward and establishes DMA’s aren’t just the average indie rock band.
Followed up by the title track, O’Dell directly introduces the theme of the album, singing, “Is anybody real?” and “I’m sick and tired of chasing the glow.” All sung over chugging guitars and precise percussion, the song is all about growing up and moving on: exactly the mindset the band needed going into the third record.
While O’Dell’s vocals shine on every track, he particularly hits his stride on the more stripped down songs. The layered vocals of “Silver,” combined with the way the entire band doesn’t kick in until well after the first verse and chorus, make the track euphoric and melancholy all at once. A similar tactic is used on “Learning Alive,” pulling back on the instruments going into the final chorus, giving O’Dell a moment to simply soar.
Throughout the eleven track listing, DMA’s meticulously assure listeners are engaged for the full runtime, especially in “Life Is a Game of Changing.” Easily one of the stand out songs, this electronic, dance-rock rave is bathed in neons and synth. The vocals overlap and float above the incredibly sturdy bass, creating a new kind of dichotomy that four-on-the-floor dance music has barely seen, let alone indie rock.
The other track that sets itself apart is the closer, “Cobracaine.” It is the epitome of a finale, dipping into all of the genres they explored earlier on the record and building with no mercy. The sheer vastness of sound is impressive, let alone that it’s one of the darkest tracks from DMA’s in existence. Both a testament to how talented the band is and how well-executed their music is, may this be indicative of not only where DMA’s have been but where they are going.
A fun and enjoyable listen each and every time, the only downside to The Glow is the lack of risk. Everything on the record works but that’s because it feels like the band played it safe. There’s something to be said about knowing your strengths, yet three albums in, it’s time to push the boundaries. Adding a little more electronic influence and a legendary producer isn’t enough either. We’re talking about structural experimentation and new, refreshing subject matter.
That being said, the band is currently sitting in a pretty decent spot. From anthemic choruses and irresistible hooks to an incredibly modern nostalgic tone, The Glow screams mainstream potential and it’s only a matter of time before DMA’s pop off. Despite the safety of The Glow, DMA’s are still deserving and inevitably going to see incredible widespread success. This release may not be a leap forward for the band but it is a pretty significant step and the album is a must listen for anyone who’s a fan of Britpop, electronic dance beats or feels ever so slightly lost.