Album Reviews

Album Review: DMA’s – Hills End (2016)


Lush textures, stadium vocals and acoustic ballads are all things we already know the DMA’s for, and now that their debut album Hills End has finally graced our ears we can comfortably say that the DMA’s are on the brink of big things.

While the argument stands that the DMA’s are a modern rip-off of classic Brit-pop bands like Oasis, it’s important not to tarnish what they have going here. The DMA’s invoke a refreshing ideal where the revamped sound of classics is mixed with the invigorating style, swagger and simplicity of modern times. Pair that with huge choruses and bloody catchy melodies and you have the unique sound of one of the most exciting groups in music today. That’s the DMA’s.

For a band that are already one of Australia’s most-loved acts and festival favourites, it’s hard to believe that the DMA’s are only releasing their debut album now. If you aren’t already familiar with this trio, you’ll at least be familiar with their hit ‘Delete’, or at least the famous line “don’t delete my baby”, that’s been making the rounds for two years now. Hills End finally gives us something to compliment the band’s A-Class EP, even introducing a heavier side to their sound that previously was almost non-existent.

‘Timeless’ is the perfect example of just that, with its churning hotpot of crashing drums, biting guitars and a franticly thrashing acoustic guitar. Not only is it an introduction to the album, but an introduction to the brash and heavy new DMA’s sound that is splattered across it.

We’re greeted with familiarity as the pounding drums of ‘Lay Down’ lead to the blistering guitar leads of the first official single for the album. Tracks like ‘Lay Down’ and ‘Too Soon’ showcase the trio’s ability to create anthemic choruses and the ever impressive melodic prowess of lead singer Tommy O’Dell.

The ever-classic ‘Delete’ needs no further introduction but brings with it the realisation that the stronger songs have all been packed in the forward end of the album in front of ‘So We Know’. This premature peak seems disheartening at first, but upon repeat listens, the second half of the album grows in charm, vulnerability and meaning.

‘In The Moment’ is a surprise stand-out of the album, with a groovier rhythm than we’ve come to expect from the trio. More like a hazy day dream than a song, O’Dell’s vocals glide and mould together with the guitars in a way that seamlessly drags the listener in.

‘Step Up The Morphine’ sits midway in the album, with an array of echoing guitars and a sombre mood to boot. O’Dell introspectively reflects on the heartbreak of tough times and losing someone close to you, with a tender vulnerability that makes this one of the most moving songs on the album.

The DMA’s are all about infectious melodies, jangly riffs and euphoric moments. ‘Blown Away’ and ‘The Switch’ deliver just that, as the band takes the pace a step back, and wave their lighters in the air drawing near to the end of the album.

For one final glorious sing-along, the album closes with ‘Play It Out’, infecting the audience with its upbeat rock rhythms and drive for one last time. “You’ve got to play it out/ You’ve got to play it out/ I’m stuck inside of you/ You’re stuck inside of me” sings O’Dell in one of the most uplifting and powerful songs on the record.

Hills End is a triumphant album. Not only can you feel the passion, enjoyment and sadness all bleeding from the same source at once, but the music succeeds in helping you to unwind through connection with O’Dell’s brutally honest lyricism. Blast the album, scream the lyrics, and annoy the person squashed in the impossibly small room next to you. That’s what Hills End is about.

Essential Songs: Delete (of course), In The Moment and Too Soon

Rating 8/10

Written by Ryan Durrington




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