DMA’S – ‘THE GLOW’ review: a hyper-charged record of dance and decadence from the evolving Sydney trio

The Australian band's expansive third album shrugs off many of the expectations that have been placed on the commonly Britpop-affiliated group

DMA’s first two albums, released in 2016 and 2018 respectively, were unapologetic love letters to Britpop. A mix of Oasis’ swagger, the frenetic energy of Blur and The Stone Roses’ want to be adored, the Aussie trio made music to bellow along to at the top of your lungs while becoming mates with total strangers – scenes which naturally played out over and over again across the series of raucous, larger-soaked DMA’s gigs across the globe that followed.

But then their ‘MTV Unplugged: Live’ record, released nearly a year ago, stripped things back to basics with an acoustic arrangement that demonstrated that there was more to the three-piece than simply soundtracking the art of lobbing pints and ‘avin’ it large. The slow evolution of DMA’s in their bid to be something greater than The Next Whoever continues with ‘THE GLOW’, which sees the band continuing to shrug off expectations.

While borrowing elements from the very best – from the Primal Scream-meets-Iggy Pop psychedelic punk of opener ‘Never Before’ through to the title track, which recalls the everyday storytelling of early Arctic Monkeys, and ‘Round & Around’, a looping, hypnotic burst of The Chemical Brothers’ dancing might – DMA’s still manage on their third album to craft a sound of their very own.

Having dabbled with electronics before (‘In The Air’, from 2018’s ‘For Now’, twinkled with atmospheric keys, while the ‘The End’ flirted with synths), this time around DMA’s have fearlessly embraced their love for the rave, giving them another dimension for their party-starting brilliance to explore. The closing trip of ‘Cobracaine’ is a warped hit of endless possibilities, while ‘Hello Girlfriend’ takes the familiar strum of an indie anthem and transforms it into something big and shiny. Practically every moment of ‘THE GLOW’ sees the band step up.

It’s not just the music that’s on another level: lyrically, ‘THE GLOW’ sees DMA’s at their most vulnerable, most excitable and most inspiring. ‘Silver’ is a slow-burning chunk of reflective uncertainty that sees lead vocalist Tommy O’Dell admit “I’m way too tired to want it all”, while the celebratory ‘Learning Alive’ sees him terrified (“never been so scared to be open“) but determined to fight. “All the world is spinning, I just want to hold it together… I’m on your side,” he promises. Elsewhere, the optimistic haze of ‘Strangers’ puts all its trust in other people (“I believe in strangers”) and the glitching ‘Criminals’ encourages you to chase your dreams (“You can be anyone now”).

Making music for the whole room to enjoy rather than just the sweaty lads in the pit – and all while refusing to water down the band’s renowned fiery lust for life – ‘THE GLOW’ is a hyper-charged record of dance and decadence. A bold step forward that sees DMA’s coming into their own, it’s a two-fingered salute to anyone that sneers at the idea of trying something new. After all, as its lead single’s title affirms, life is a game of changing.


DMA's - 'The Glow'

  • Release date: July 10
  • Record label: Infectious Records

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