Album of the Week: DMA’S shine bright on THE GLOW (2020 LP)

More than two years after their dance tinged second album, DMA’S return in 2020 with another mixed bag of treats and hits as they embrace all things old and new on THE GLOW. Much like their progression from their Hills End to For Now albums, THE GLOW has elements of what you’ve come to expect from the three-piece Sydney act, whilst throwing in a couple welcome surprises that justify the ever-present hype the band have seemingly had since bursting onto the scene in 2014. For every moment that is filled with a slow love song ballad, there’s a dance floor banger waiting to explode at 3am in a poorly lit and equally filthy club.

First track “Never Before” has that 1990’s Britpop sound the band has evidently always been compared to. It eases in through the opening verse, before the vocals of Tommy O’Dell effortlessly soar in the chorus. It is very much a sound you’d expect from the band, but also seemingly a new avenue the band may prove to move away from in the coming years.

Lead singles “The Glow”, “Silver” and “Life is a Game of Changing” go back-to-back-to-back on the front end of the album. It’s an easy way for listeners to acclimatise to any new sounds they’ll hear over the proceeding seven tracks. The familiarity of “The Glow” feels like it is a more polished version of earlier tracks “Feels Like 37” or “Lay Down”, while “Silver” is the cool older cousin to break out single “Delete”. “Silver” is as wholesome a song you’re likely to hear this year, whilst not breaking too many new frontiers. “Life is a Game of Changing” would not be out of place on a The Presets setlist, with O’Dell’s calming vocals the only discerning difference that keeps the song firmly in the realm of DMAS. It’s a real vibe and welcome growth from a band that could easily have rolled out another safe pop track.

“Criminals” is a downbeat moment that is well and truly bound to be the bands’ first opportunity to embrace the opportunity to play with an orchestra in a live setting. Whilst a straightforward pop song, it has the potential to be a live set masterpiece. Much like “Criminals”, current single “Learning Alive” is another three minutes of bulletproof pop sentiment, as O’Dell reflects on a world on the cusp of healing and growth for the better, as he sings “we’re getting better with time”. Poignant in the time of a global pandemic, “Learning Alive” is sure to be a live staple.

The four minutes of both “Hello Girlfriend” and “Round & Around” are personal highlights, as they hark back to a definite 90’s sound fit for any coming-of-age movie soundtrack. “Hello Girlfriend” is straight forward pop brilliance, while “Round & Around” starts off all cute with consecutive verses, before quickly going supersonic in its chorus. If any two DMAS tracks were born from the same DNA, “Round & Around” would have definitely shared the same womb as “The Glow”.

Closing on the sadness tinged “Cobracaine”, THE GLOW borders on the cusp of greatness but falls just short. An album evenly weighted with dance elements and full-blown pop excitement, DMAS are on the verge of breaking into global stardom. With massive and loyal followings in Europe and Australia already, THE GLOW could well prove to be the launchpad for the band to break into global success.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

THE GLOW is out 10th July 2020 through I OH YOU.

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