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The words Brit-Pop have been thrown around their fair share ever since Sydney’s lively trio DMA’S broke onto the scene throughout in 2014 – with their spontaneous release of their debut EP along with their signing to I OH YOU.
One of the most anticipated Australian albums is finally here, and DMA’S haven’t disappointed with their debut album Hills End.
Shortly after their debut release alongside the mass praise of their single Delete, claims of “Brit-Pop revival” flooded the airwaves across the country eventually reaching the UK. Although the Brit-Pop influence is definitely present throughout their material, dismissing these boys as a Brit-Pop group may be a tad far fetched; after all there are plenty of influences in their material that shies away from the typical Verve or Oasis. Oh one more thing, I did mention they’re Aussie not British right?
Released through I OH YOU, Hills End not only cements itself as the group’s debut LP, it more notably strips any Brit-Pop revivalist stigma attached to the group through the marriage of each member’s individual influence. DMA’S prove they are more than a wanna-be group trapped in the era when people actually gave a shit about what Noel Gallagher had to say.
From the get go Hills End dives into the deep end with Timeless, a highly ecstatic affair crawling with various layers and textures that seamlessly flow in and out of fresh musical ideas, ultimately expanding into a richer more vibrant atmosphere than initially revealed. This awareness of musical fluidity and growth is flawlessly established by the DMA’S throughout the rest of this LP. The second track and hit single Lay Down is no exception.
Lay Down is an excellent example of the group’s ability to take a simple verse-chorus-verse structure and reinvigorate it through the gradual expansion and layering of musical ideas as the song progresses, ultimately creating a more intriguing and broader soundscape. This smooth development of textures only adds to the excitement provided by the DMA’S’ irrefutably strong and always impressive melodic presence, leaving even more reasons to go in for another
The hit track Delete alongside So We Know from their 2015 release once again make an appearance on Hills End. Furthermore we were graced with a brand new video clip to couple the much-loved track Delete, nothing wrong with having two video clips for a single track I guess. Overall there isn’t much to say about So We Know or Delete that hasn’t been said before… after all if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve at least heard Delete prior to this LP. Moreover it’s likely the catchy as hell chorus “Let It All Out” is still deep-rooted in the back of your mind.
Tracks Step Up The Morphine and Blown Away offer more of the slow burn qualities captured in So We Know and Delete. Both bearing a somewhat melancholy vibe, down beat tracks such as these may not be the most exciting on offer throughout this LP however they do provide a welcoming shift in the overall mood. Blown Away is an ode to one of Johnny Took’s friends leaving Australia in pursuit for a new life abroad. DMA’S did an excellent job in translating the sincere feeling of distance here, without spiraling into a cheesy ballad.
Too Soon boldly encapsulates psychedelic elements whilst additionally taking things a notch further serving up 90’s grunge flavours in its chorus. It’s evident that Too Soon is one of the handful of tracks on Hills End that was crafted almost effortlessly by the lads’ harmonious ability fluently to flesh out ideas as a crew. Their individual contributions definitely shine here; fortifying Too Soon as on of the strongest tracks Hills End has to offer.
Hills End is a greater achievement for DMA’S than just a brilliant record; Hills End proves the lads have what it takes to play along side the big leagues. The humble beginnings and Brit-Pop status have somewhat been eclipsed here; all that remains is a group with a stylistic direction which is clearer now more than ever, with no sign of slowing down its full steam ahead.
DMA’S have become a force to be reckoned with. I urge anyone into alternative rock, particularly fans of the likes of Stone Roses, Verve, Blur and dare I say Oasis to give these boys a run for your money. I guarantee they will stand to impress.
Check out our interview with DMA’s here.