Words by Craig Pool.
In a year that saw Australian psych-rock outfit Tame Impala pick up a Brit award for Best International Group and impress on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, my ears were fixed on another emerging band from down under. Tommy O’Dell, Matt Mason and Johnny Took, make up DMA’s, who for me, are the most exciting rock and roll band to breakout this side of the Arctic Monkeys.
I’m not entirely sure how I came across DMA’s. I have a feeling I heard their debut single Delete while scrolling through instagram, which immediately caught my attention. What I do know is that it was the end of 2015 when I added five of their tracks to my spotify library, and from then, I probably haven’t gone a week without dipping into their catalogue of infectious rock and roll. The soft acoustic melodies, harmonising vocals and dizzying euphoric crescendos had me hooked from the first listen.
The thing that intrigued me the most about DMAs’ sound was that it was straight out of early 90’s Northern England. Had Britpop finally landed in Australia? You’d think so by listening to these lads, and it wasn’t just their sound giving me that impression either; baseball caps, baggy tees, messy hair and swagger made these Sydney natives look like they were fresh from a Manchester estate. It’s safe to say I was dying for these indie boys to release an album.
Hills End arrived in February 2016 and after my first listen I had declared it my album of the year. I’m happy to say it fought off some tough opposition to retain that title come the end of 2016. Hills End proved what I believed about DMA’s to be fact – this band couldn’t write a song that wasn’t a bonafide belter. From the roaring and sneering rock and roll of Timeless and Play It Out to the spaced out acoustic ballads So We Know and Step Up The Morphine, the album oozes with inviting and addictive sounds.
Along with appearances at T in the Park, Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds to help raise the profile, DMA’s toured the UK in the autumn of 2016. It was the Glasgow date which attracted me and two mates. We stood proudly at the barrier like three excited pre-teen girls waiting on some egotistical popstar to emerge. Instead it was three scruffy looking Aussie blokes that strutted onto the stage – and they were incredible. Naturally, they didn’t hold back and at full volume they smashed their way through the set.
Exhausted and sweaty we made our way to the exits, but not before bumping into the band on the stairs as we squeezed through the human chain of bouncers. As I shook hands with Johnny Took, the acoustic guitarist, he looked genuinely pleased that we’d turned up. It was clear that these lads were hardworking, honest and seemed like they’d formed this band in order to have the best time they possible could. I thought about asking for a picture, but before I could, the band had taken off up the stairs, cigarettes poised for action behind their ears.
DMA’s definitely announced themselves on the Indie scene last year, and I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring for the band. New music has been teased and I’m sure it will full of the same big, immersive sounds with which DMA’s have laid the foundations for huge success.
Written by Craig Pool, you can follow Craig on twitter here.