ALBUM REVIEW: DMA’S ‘How Many Dreams’

Review by Jonathan Taylor

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Photo credit: Kalpesh Lathigra 

Across twelve tracks, DMA’S 4th studio album, ‘How Many Dreams?’ which is released 31st March, marks yet another departure in terms of musical creativity and evolvement for the band from Sydney.

Following from the success of their last album ‘The Glow’, the Australian trio decided to continue working with Grammy award winning producer Stuart Price who has previously worked with the likes of The Killers, New Order, Madonna and the Pet Shop Boys. According to guitarist Johnny Took, the band learnt so much from working with Stuart last time around and became such good friends, tackling a second album with him seemed like a “no brainer”.

DMA’S worked with Stuart Price and Rich Costey for 3 weeks in London’s RAK Studio where they got the majority of the album completed, however, when they returned to Sydney, they felt there was still a lot more to be done on the record and as a result the band spent a further 2 weeks on the album with Konstantine Kersting where they got experimental with synths and polished the final touches.

The album opens with ‘How Many Dreams?’, which is joyous and synth driven and blended with an abundance of fuzzy guitars and Balearic inspired energy. It’s the perfect album opener encapsulating the undeniable spirit of DMA’S which as ever is bound together with a wonderfully melodic vocal performance from front man Tommy O’Dell.

‘Olympia’ is a solid guitar driven offering, more reminiscent of the DMA’S early works from ‘Hills End’. It incorporates enough anthemic quality with an infectious guitar loop, which no doubt will make it another fan favourite when played live. ‘Everybody’s Saying Thursday’s The Weekend’ is crafted for the summertime and is a song that guitarist Johnny Took describes as “about letting go of the things that weigh  you down and about embracing the future with a sense of optimism”.

‘Dear Future’ shifts the momentum and slows things down. It is beautifully tender in delivery, laden with strings with yet another exemplary vocal performance from the Australian front man. ‘I Don’t Need To Hide’, was the lead single from the album which at the time of release was perhaps a statement of intent from DMA’S in terms of a shift in direction. It is a song about propelled self-belief which fuses uplifting electronic dance elements and guitars melodies perfectly.

‘Forever’ is another of the albums tender moments and is emotional in equal measure. Though it is more subtle in comparison to some of big hitters on the album, the lyrics are steeped with affection and are backed with stunning string arrangements and is an album highlight. ‘Fading Like A Picture’ is again comparable to early DMA’S with uplifting guitars of anthemic quality and is another of the album tracks that is big in energy and spirit.

‘Jai Alai’ in its infancy is delicate piano driven track that builds in arrangement and is beautifully buoyant in melody and sentiment and is bound together with a vocal performance from Tommy that is effortless.

‘Get Ravey’ was apparently derived after Johnny Took listening to Sonic Youth, and as a result, is an indie driven pop song with a big hitting chorus and ‘21 Year Vacancy’ is another of the album’s ballads that is celebratory in sound.  ‘Something We’re Overcoming’ is an uplifting dance-inspired festival anthem that harks back to the nineties rave scheme and shares the same sentiment of indicative carefree abandon.

‘De Carle’ the closing track on the album is fiery, electronic and trance inspired. It encapsulates all the ingredients, elements and influences that have fused this latest album together. Big beats, synths, pianos, guitars, melody and assured vocal delivery.

‘How Many Dreams?’ is a beautifully joyous album full of emotion and exploration. It is captivating in sentiment and brimming with optimism. It weaves perfectly electronic dance layers and unexpected string arrangements seamlessly with the bands trademark guitar-based foundations. DMA’S have yet again had the confidence and ambition to push their boundaries musically which has resulted in a record filled with diversity, hidden depths, and arguably some of the bands best material to date.

‘How Many Dreams?’ is available to purchase in the link below: