Though they hail from different sides of the globe, Sydney’s Britpop revivalists DMA’s and Merthyr Tydfil’s baby-faced rockers Pretty Vicious have both stepped up to the plate with a clear aim of being the next Oasis. You only have to check out Pretty Vicious’ ‘Definitely Maybe’-esque press shot to see they’re unashamedly vying for the title, while their Aussie counterparts aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves either. They make no bones about them being in thrall to the Manchester and Britpop sounds that circled the globe when they were growing up down under. But, of the pair, which is the best bet for success? The opportunity to judge came about at Reading, where the two bands performed back to back on the Festival Republic stage. We decided to see how they stacked up.
Noel Gallagher has already landed a crushing blow on DMA’s for wearing their Britpop hearts on their sleeves. During a recent interview in Australia, he shot them down disdainfully declaring: “[If they’re on the same bill as me] I’ll have to watch them from side of stage and boo them.” Ever the reluctant frontman, DMA’s’ Tommy O’Dell lacks Liam Gallagher’s cocksure swagger and style, arriving onstage in a fashion disaster of a denim jacket and blue cap backed up by a very timid looking tambourine. Pretty Vicious’ bullish frontman Brad Griffiths, by contrast, oozes an air of cocksure confidence as he swaggers onstage and thrashes his guitar around like Alex Turner with a rocket up his backside.
Winner: Pretty Vicious
For all their homage to Britpop and Madchester (kappa hats and baggy tracksuit bottoms) every member of DMA’s looks like they’ve been plucked out of a completely different band. Guitarist Johnny Took could easily be mistaken for Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello from a distance, and he even holds his guitar in the same highly slung manner. Pretty Vicious, on the other hand, are cut from the same working class cloth as the Arctic Monkeys and fellow Cavan mods The Strypes. They also look more like a unit onstage.
Winner: Pretty Vicious
While DMA’s may not have the look, they undoubtedly have a few tunes in their locker. Boasting a wall of guitar noise straight out of ‘Definitely Maybe’, heartfelt killer anthems like ‘Delete’ and ‘Feels Like 37′ win over the small crowd. Frontman Tommy can also hold a note and his vocals are reminiscent of Liam circa ’94 with a snatch of John Power thrown in for good measure. Unlike their Aussie counterparts, there is no element of pastiche in Pretty Vicious’ music. Their songs also sound very now as Brad’s throaty vocals compliment the band’s snarling, squalling guitar riffs. As the teenage crowd bellow every word to ‘Cave Song’ and the spiky anthem in waiting ‘Are You Entertained?’, it brings back memories of the Arctic Monkeys’ early days on the toilet circuit.
Most Likely To Headline Knebworth
With age not on their side and a relatively small crowd in attendance, the signs don’t look good for DMA’s in the Knebworth department. But the sizeable throng that turns out for Pretty Vicious and the buzz they create during their excellent 30 minute set suggests Merthyr’s newest kids on the block can pick up the baton left behind by both Arctic Monkeys and Oasis before them.
Outright Winner: Pretty Vicious