Label: Illusive Sounds Pty Limited
Release Date: 10th July 2020
"The album is a joyous exploration of a new sound and a new era for DMA’s."
DMA’s third album, The Glow, is long-awaited, having been pushed back from its original release date of 24 April thanks to the good ol’ Coronavirus pandemic. They’ve been teasing the album since the release of the first single, ‘Silver’, in October 2019.
The Glow opens with ‘Never Before’, a track very reminiscent of the Britpop style that they are so often compared to. It also, however, introduces the new electronic dance undercurrents that the band has embraced, presumably thanks to the influence of collaborating producer, Stuart Price, who is known for his electronic sound. This contributes to the euphoric, hopeful feel of the album which would have perfectly soundtracked the summer we should have been having.
There’s nothing groundbreakingly innovative in the album, but it is more highly produced than DMA’s previous work. For example, the obvious autotuning on ‘Cobracaine’ and full texture of ‘Criminals’ is far removed from the raw vocals and simpler composition of their first album. Singles ‘The Glow’ and ‘Life is a Game of Changing’ use this to create a high energy, danceable feel that wouldn’t feel out of place on the indie floor of a pop club. You can obviously hear their musical growth and incorporation of influences from different genres, making for a refreshing listen.
Lyrically, the album plays with themes of youth, moving onwards and upwards, and romance. There are hints of deeper ideas in certain tracks; “I was right here, but I guess I was away/ I feel strange 'cause they took apart my brain” suggests a struggle with identity and mental health in ‘Hello Girlfriend’, and ‘Strangers’ plays with introspection and lament with the lines “And the more I fight, the less I will desire/ And the less I give, the more I tend to take. But for me, the lyrics don’t quite hit: they never quite say what I suspect they want to, and instead simply serve to add to the overall sonic ~vibe~ of the album. Despite perhaps not going on to win any Nobel Prizes for Literature, the lyrics are arguably the least important aspect of this new album and the new sound and will be plenty good enough for belting at a festival.
A more familiar, beat-driven sound arises towards the latter half of the album, with ‘Hello Girlfriend’ sounding most like their debut album Hills End. Its heavier drum beat injects an unexpected rock n’ roll interlude between summery indie-pop tracks. ‘Silver’, my personal favourite track, also harks back to the nostalgic sound seen in songs from previous albums, like ‘Step Up the Morphine’ and ‘Lazy Love’. The simplistic, looping chorus of ‘Round & Around’ makes for a catchy, high energy contrast to the previous track, ‘Appointment’, which is melancholic with swelling percussion and existential lyrics such as ‘And if it even mattered’.
The album ends with ‘Cobracaine’, a theatrical song with an almost trance-like feel; the lyrics are smattered with abstract metaphors such as ”spider from a spark”, and express the yearning, impatient feelings of “wasted kids” “waiting for the perfect moment”. With its autotuned melody and rave-like background beat, ‘Cobracaine’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album and perfectly encapsulates the new dancey sound they’ve embraced.
The album is a joyous exploration of a new sound and a new era for DMA’s. It will be perfect for a dark fruits fuelled boogie when we’re allowed to go to gigs again!
Words by Serafina Kenny.
12th July 2020.