Review and live images by Jonathan Taylor
Following the release of ‘Hills End’, ‘For Now’ and joining some of music’s elite with the release of their incredible ‘MTV Unplugged Live’ album, DMA’S are back with their 3rd studio album ‘THE GLOW’ due for release on the 10th July.
This time around the Australian trio teamed up 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 front man Tommy O’Dell, a demo of the album track ‘Life Is a Game of Changing’ was sent to Stuart Price and given the bands shift in musical direction, this cemented the partnership for him to produce the whole of the album. So with that said, it is clear from the off, that DMA’S were looking to make a more progressive record this time around, moving beyond the realms of the guitar driven soundscape of their first two records.
The opening album track ‘NEVER BEFORE’ is a joyous, upbeat fusion of trance inspired hooks and drum loops which peaks with an abundance of fuzzy guitars and Balearic inspired energy during the chorus. 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.
The album’s title track ‘THE GLOW’ is a solid guitar driven offering, with enough anthemic quality and the right number of musical breaks around the vocal to no doubt make it another fan favourite when played live.
‘SILVER’ is up next, which was the first release of new material off the album. According to Tommy, it is a track that has been in development since prior to the release of their debut album ‘Hills End’. It was only due to the recent addition of the chorus which was written by Tommy on a phone memo in the early hours of the morning, that eventually made the song complete. The combination of a wondrous vocal and an arrangement of beautifully uplifting guitar heavy pop, brings together a piece of musical story telling at its finest.
‘LIFE IS A GAME OF CHANGING’ is where we clearly see the biggest shift in direction for the band musically. It’s a celebratory, trance inspired, high energy dance track, which is full of confidence and ambition, yet still somehow manages to sound like a DMA’S record.
‘CRIMINALS’ was written during the last few days of the albums recording sessions. It is the most surprising track on the record. It begins as a subtle piano based offering and builds quickly into a refreshingly, unexpected portion of uplifting pop which may come as a surprise to the avid fans of the band.
‘STRANGERS’ is darker in mood and content, but is without question one of the highlights of the album. It is incredibly atmospheric and more subtle in mood in comparison to some of big hitters on the album and as a result it would be unjust if the incredible production qualities and structure of the track go unnoticed.
‘LEARNING ALIVE’ shifts the momentum and slows things down as it begins with a stripped back piano. With the exemplary vocal performance from the Australian front man, over the course of the track it builds into a powerful, beautifully optimistic arrangement of real anthemic quality.
‘HELLO GIRLFRIEND’ is more reminiscent of the material found on the previous two albums. It is an uplifting guitar based track and anyone who had the opportunity to see DMA’S supporting Liam Gallagher at the back end of last year would agree that this song slots in perfectly with the back catalogue of classics.
‘APPOINTMENT’ is both tender and emotional in equal measure. In its beginning it’s a delicate acoustic track that is propelled into a masterpiece of an arrangement that is packed with uplifting strings and melody which is bound together with a sentimental vocal performance from Tommy that is effortless and silk like.
‘ROUND AND AROUND’ is another of the albums tracks that is big in energy and spirit. There is an unexpected synth break down at the back end of the track which again confirms the bands willingness to experiment and progress their sound. Overall it is a rousing guitar driven staple, which in its design, will translate perfectly when performed live.
‘COBRACAINE’ is the final track on the record and is a perfect way to bring the album to a close. 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.
‘THE GLOW’ is a beautifully accomplished album full of emotion and exploration. DMA’S have had the confidence and ambition to push their boundaries musically which has resulted in record that is filled with diversity and hidden depths. It is surprising and unexpected and is packed with energy, emotion and joyful optimism. DMA’S have steered the helm into uncharted territory with this record, but by doing so have created something magical and have undoubtedly produced some of their finest and most accomplished material to date.