Australian trio DMA’s have finally followed up a series of singles and their self-titled EP with full length album, Hills End. A home recorded effort which has become highly anticipated in the months leading up to its release, their debut showcases all that has been making this band increasingly popular.
Beautifully simplistic guitar riffs, raw vocals and melodic peaks are recurrent features on the album, nostalgic characteristics indicative of DMA’s Britpop influences and their role in its spirited revival. The album kicks off with the abrupt ‘Timeless’, Tommy O’Dell’s frustration an onslaught through aggressive vocals and an equally dynamic opening riff. ‘Lay Down’ takes a jangly shoegaze turn, its tone more yearning as Tommy sings ‘Shiver in the morning rain / my eyes they drift away with you’.
‘Delete’ is a heart-on-your-sleeve acoustic gem that takes the tempo down a notch: intimately crooned vocals atop a simple instrumental that builds for much of the track before its melodic last minute, the repeated ‘Let it all out’ an eruption of passion bringing it to a close. ‘In the Moment’ is the band’s most recently released single, a wistful contribution which explodes into an anthemic chorus reminiscent of the sunburst choruses of Oasis. This is the song on Hills End most alive with Britpop’s euphoria; they certainly wouldn’t appear out of place in 1990s Manchester.
‘So We Know’, ‘Straight Dimensions’ and ‘Blown Away’ are quite low-key offerings. Tommy’s raw voice resounds as seductively throughout, but fall flat on the harmonic front, the latter half of the album becoming tedious. ‘Step up the Morphine’ and ‘Melbourne’ are stand out tracks with gorgeous melancholy vocals and a spacy sound.
Hills End is a strong debut from a relatively new band. Invoking in its listener a sense of nostalgia for the album proves that DMA’s are ones to watch.