Words: ROBIN MUMFORD
When ‘Hills End’ was released in 2016, DMA’s exploded onto the scene, and they followed up two years later with “For Now’. The two early albums in a meritorious - but remarkably still blossoming - music career from the Australian trio, at long last, lit the torch for an album that transported Brits back to the 90s.
So many came before them and failed, but DMA’s felt like an extension to the Britpop era. They didn’t sound like Oasis, nor did they sound like Pulp or Suede. But they sounded atypically British. And better yet, they re-shifted the ennui that the music scene was tumbling quicker into darkness than ever before to take reign and lay siege on England’s most beloved venues to the backcloth of a generation lost in translation. In such a short period of time, nihility became a term the band were unfamiliar with. Non stop they cascaded the U.K., seducing guitar fans with their gauzy indie rock anthems and triggering waves of steadfast loyalty in a country that welcomed them without diffidence.
Of course, lots of modern bands try to use the 90s as a fuel for their own musical engine. But while DMA’s never did that, they were the ones who made people sit up and take notice. Manchester became their spiritual home, and when the trio do find themselves returning to their birthplace, it’s not very often because of music. It is curious, then, that their music has changed opaquely in the form of their two latest studio albums. Within them, ‘GLOW,’ of 2020, and ‘How Many Dreams?’ of this month, sees DMA’s ditch their Britpop associations, instead gravitating toward an ethereal, consciousness-expanding mystique that produces the band’s most ambitious sound yet.
More now than ever, their original soundscape is notably not what DMA’s are about. Their new album is more ‘them’. As they say themselves, the fourth studio album is one that totals up as the grand sum of every part of who DMAS are. Gleaned from 70+ early demos, it sees them drawing from a wider sonic palette than ever before. Universal experiences are shared through the distilling of psychedelic and stripped back songs. Across twelve tracks, ‘How Many Dreams?’ weaves electronic dance elements seamlessly through the beloved foundations of guitar rock, punk, and the masterful lyricism of Tommy O’Dell.
This new album may not sound like DMA’s. But that’s because their early stuff was just setting them up for now. It definitely is a balancing act to cater for the tastes of fans old and new, but while some may feel distanced by the new journey DMA’s takes us on, the sound is far more ambitious and far more lip-wetting.
Still, we’re sure the Australians will continue to blaze a trail through the UK music scene, regardless of who stays for the next era of the band that revived the zeniths of the 90s.