The debut from this much-hyped Australian trio owes a debt of gratitude to the past whilst hinting at the future
Australia’s DMA’S recorded their debut album in guitarist Johnny Took’s Sydney bedroom. It’s perhaps slightly surprising then that the resulting record is anything but the lo-fi stylings you might expect to be born in such humble origins. Instead, Hills End is an assertive collection of guitar-heavy music which would sound very much at home in the mid-90s.
Timeless sets the tone for what is to follow, a Britpop resurrection of finely balanced menace and melody. Tommy O’Dell’s vocals lead the revival – a slightly smoother version of Liam Gallagher’s sneer – and continue the charge on Lay Down and Too Soon. It’s not all anthemic; Delete and So We Know provide shades of quiet contemplation.
There’s also a sense that DMA’s sound has already began to evolve during the lengthy process of writing and recording a debut album. A comparison between one of oldest songs, the simple ballad Blown Away and the more recent Melbourne, the most expansive number on the record, highlights this and has the strange effect of making you more excited about the direction DMA’s are headed in rather than the here and now.
Nevertheless, Hills End is a confident debut of shimmering guitar pop from the talented trio that both establishes their position as bright young things whilst hinting at bigger things to follow.
Verdict: Britpop reborn in a Sydney bedroom