DMA'S Glowing New Album!
The Creative Issue had a sneak peak at DMA’S third studio album The Glow ahead of its release on 10 July through I OH YOU. The eleven track offering was part recorded in their native New South Wales with Scott Horscroft, and part recorded by Stuart Price in London, eventually wrapping up in Hollywood at the end of last Summer.
Despite delving into new aspects of songwriting and production DMA’S recorded The Glow together in one room, just like they did in the early days tracking their EP’s in their Newtown apartment. Although, this time, they were working with a Grammy-winning producer in a studio once frequented by Quincy Jones, meaning they needn’t throw a mattress up at the window to make some space and block out the traffic noise.
So with the album’s release only days away what can fans expect? Truthfully any band’s third album is a bit of a weird thing. A kind of crossroad. People will have established in their mind a band’s “sound” over the course of a debut and sophomore album. A second album will either seem to reaffirm the sonic fingerprint of the first, or seem to head in a new direction. Both options can be divisive because no band’s fan base will unanimously approve, or disapprove, of either choice. Which means that by the time album three comes around a band is making a statement whether they want to or not.
Three albums in a row with, more or less, the same “sound” is a bit like only owning one pair of shoes. There’s nothing wrong with it as long as they don’t get old. The thing is, not every band can pull off changing up their sound. Usually, the longer you wear those ol’ faves the weirder it feels trying a new pair, and opting for shoes that look good, but don’t quite fit, usually ends in pain. So what’s the answer? Well, DMA’S might have just cracked that one.
The Glow is kind of like trading in your old black converse for new ones and spoiling yourself with some coloured laces too. It feels and sounds undeniably like a DMA’S album. It sits nicely with both Hills End and For Now. But, in the same way that the band’s debut and follow up didn’t feel like a repeat, this latest offering is a separate snapshot in their career as well.
This new album takes the hints of a dancier, poppier sound left on For Now and steps boldly forward. That’s not to say that it forgets its roots. Acoustic guitars wind their way through the album as you’d expect. There is still a blissfully overwhelming presence of that brit-rock sound, especially in tracks like album opener ‘Never Before’ and first single ‘Silver’. But there is more piano and keys woven into The Glow, featuring in songs like ‘Criminals’ and ‘Learning Alive’. Tracks like ‘Life Is A Game Of Changing’ and ‘Cobracaine’ take the furthest step away from a “classic” DMA’S sound. These songs channel the band’s love of pop and electronic music and give us another dimension of the album to appreciate.
When DMA’S released ‘Life Is A Game Of Changing’ as a single back in January many of their oldest fans wondered how The Glow would fit into DMA’S live set alongside their older material. But pre-pandemic shows featuring the new single proved that old and new co-exist quite naturally. Even better is that The Glow is full of songs that you can’t help but picture as epic live “moments” across the full range of DMA’S sonic signature.
Frontman Tommy O’Dell has spoken of DMA’S increasing fan base, and the band’s desire to connect with people through their music saying “That’s why we do it – to build that connection with people.” But he also admits that their songs were originally meant for themselves, and this is important when looking at The Glow. As DMA’S chose their path at this crossroad, and inevitably ruffle a few feathers, surely it’s good to know that the songs come from a place of artistic authenticity. As Tommy has said “This record is the one we were ready to make, and the one that we needed to make.”