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DMA’S For Now gets 8/10

DMAs
For Now
I Oh You

8/10

It’s been a big couple of years for Newtown, Sydney’s DMAs. Since the release of their debut album catapulted them to fame with its no nonsense mix of classic Brit styled rock ‘n’ roll and quality songwriting, the three lads and their touring band have been round the world several times, impressing all and sundry with their brilliant live shows. They’ve played Coachella, Glastonbury and Fuji Rock, and supported big name acts, soon to include Liam Gallagher from their heroes Oasis, who they will open for in front of 40,000 people in Finsbury Park, London in June. A situation they would have only dreamed of a few years ago when they were playing small bars.

Now comes the ‘difficult sophomore album’. How do you follow that up with all the hype and press they’ve received? Well, with another collection of great songs that cements them as one of the best bands in the country, but also manages to further define their own style and sound. While they proudly wear their influences on their sleeves, the band have been self-conscious of the references and tried to distance themselves from the Britpop tag a little bit with a broader range of songs, leaning more on the melodic pop-rock side of the spectrum.

The strength is still in the songwriting and Tommy O’Dell’s pure, soaring vocals. They’ve enlisted Kim Moyes of The Presents on production, who has seemingly refined and smoothed out their sound, minimising the Britpop sonics.

At times the polished production has a little too much gloss and loses something of their rough edge that gave their first record that immediacy and realness – a little bit like the move from Oasis’ rocking debut Definitely Maybe to their huge breakthrough (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? with its grand production. Though there’s no orchestral arrangements just yet.

The Stone Roses and Oasis influences are still hard to ignore, with opener For Now sounding remarkably similar to Oasis’ classic tune Columbia. But these comparisons are made in the most complementary way, as the band don’t so much copy, as take a sound, evolve it and put their own twist on it.

It’s an album squarely aimed at capitalising on their rocketing popularity – accessible with plenty to love about it. And while it may be lacking a little in some of those scorching lead riffs of Matt Mason’s that made their debut so triumphant, and O’Dell’s vocals don’t quite have the same rawness, there’s plenty more to enjoy on this lush, expansive record, and lots of moments that will be great fun to sing along to live.

Singles Dawning and the sweet sounding In The Air were a good indication of the direction. They’ve slowed things down a bit, with a few mid-tempo, heartfelt ballads, though nothing comes close to raw beauty of Delete. Warsaw however is a shimmering slice of melodic pop with a definite Stone Roses vibe – DMA’s at their ecstatic finest.

The End is one of their most beautiful pop moments yet and Tape Deck Sick (a track originally written 10 years ago) is one of the most indie sounding things they’ve done, with a bit of a Real Estate vibe due to the reverb drenched guitars. Closer Emily Whyte is another great tune that brings the album to a fitting end.

Fans will lap this up and new ones will abound. For Now is certain to see the rise of this Aussie band’s star. Whether they stay based at home or are whisked off oversees by the lure of bright lights is yet to be seen, but they deserve all the success they get.

ALFRED GORMAN

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