‘Lay down, lay down. Give me someone new…’ is an extremely pertinent lyric to the entire entity and act that is DMA’s. While they’ve definitely drawn a few favourable comparisons during their rise over the past two years, there’s been plenty of conjecture over whether DMA’s are in fact ‘someone new’ or just something recycled from the height of Brit-pop and the wider indie-pop scene.
Hills End, their debut LP, goes some way in dispelling these myths.
Opener “Timeless”, with its stellar guitar work in the bridge, is a feisty beginning to the LP. It has the dirt and lad-ness attached that the band has tried to promote since their beginnings. I remember posting on my own social media channels when “Delete” was first released, that the band and their attire seemingly didn’t look out of place, smashing down Woodstock bourbon and Winfield Blues, while working out how best to flog a pair of Nike TNs from Footlocker.
Yeah, I’ll admit it was a fair bit pretentious on my part and totally unfounded when solely looking at the brilliance of what they were producing musically. “Delete”, to this day, is still an absolute belter of a track. Over its four minute run, “Delete” is everything you’d want in a song. It remains DMA’s pinnacle. Not to say [though] that there aren’t any other peaks through out Hills End.
2015 single “Lay Down” gradually builds on its simplicity as once again, the guitars of Johhny Took and Matt Mason take the lead. Having seen it live, it’s a juicy fit for a mid afternoon festival set. The distinctively smoky vocals of Tommy O’Dell are a perfect fit for DMA’s. “Too Soon” is jaunty and in-your-face, while “So We Know” is the most endearing and earnest track on the LP (alongside “Delete”, which is quite cool, as both songs are near identical in their structure and development).
“Melbourne” canters along with no immediacy throughout much of its run, before giving us exactly what we need in the closing, erratic stages of the track.
“Straight Dimensions” has quite possibly the most poignant lyric of Hills End with, ‘And I don’t have a single feeling that wants to hang with me/ hang for free’. Whether it’s about friends and relationships, or just general self-confidence or mental health, I don’t know, but you can re-appropriate however you see fit.
Helping close out Hills End is “The Switch” and “Play It Out”. If there is going to be any time on the LP that DMA’s were going to be compared to any other bands (namely Oasis, Blur and The Smiths), it’s going to happen on “The Switch”. It’s a highlight of the album for sure, while “Play It Out” is a re-imagining of the same track from their debut EP. I’m always a little weary about albums that include tracks from previous EPs released a couple years prior, but DMA’s have definitely crushed their decision to include “Delete”, “So We Know” and “Play It Out”.
As for the album, DMA’s have done real well in creating an album that throws back to their influences, while also treading a fine enough line so Hills End isn’t just an album of tracks we’d heard before. The Sydney lads should be proud of what they’ve put together. It’s a steady album full of addictive pop tracks that make you want to give it one more listen.
Review Score: 8 out of 10.
Hills End is out now through I OH YOU.