Album Review: DMA’S – ‘For Now’
With DMA’S seemingly constant presence in the Australian rock scene, you would be forgiven for thinking they’ve been around for decades. However, after an EP, a wildly successful debut album, and that Like A Version, April’s For Now is only the Sydney group’s second studio album. And it’s a good one, at that.
They waste no time on For Now, with title track kicking into gear from the get go with driving rhythm guitar and in-your-face vocals. It’s easy to see why comparisons with 90’s British juggernaut Oasis have been made at leisure in the past, especially after Liam Gallagher’s glowing praise for the group in January. Tommy O’Dell’s harsh vocals are almost a mirror-sound to the Mancunian’s, while the backing guitars and percussion hark back to that real ‘Morning Glory’ tone.
As the album progresses, it appears as if O’Dell, Johnny Took and Matt Mason calm things down a little, with the vocals a touch less abrasive. Greater subtlety in the bass-guitar accompanies this sonic shift, as present in ‘Time & Money’, with tambourines introduced to add a calmer aura. This is only enhanced when ‘In The Air’ follows, as O’Dell’s serenading vocals are matched with a strumming, relaxed acoustic and an overarching, plucky, steel guitar. If DMA’S were to release a chilled-out beach album, this tune would undoubtedly be the headline.
Throughout the album’s entirety, a slower, more relaxed feel is present, with a little more acoustic than we’re used to from the boys, particularly on tracks like ‘Warsaw’, ‘Lazy Love’, and ‘Tape Deck’. Adding to this is the almost psychedelic vibe of ‘Break Me’, and the partial hip-hop backing to ‘Do I Need You Now’. This proves above all else that the group was not afraid to take creative risks in producing the follow up to Hills End.
An unlikely comparison could be made to fellow Sydney rockers The Hoodoo Gurus. This can be found in ‘Warsaw’, as the strumming and vocal timbre are eerily reminiscent of cult classic ‘That’s My Scene’, (or ‘That’s My Team’ if you’re a mid-00s NRL fan).
Concluding with hazy, bass-drum induced ‘Health’ and the laid-back guitars of ‘Emily Whyte’, it is apparent that DMA’S were attempting to cash in on the success of ‘Delete’, implementing more relaxed elements than people were ready for.
In general, despite glimpses here and there, the sound is something of a departure from the in-your-face rock that we have seen in the past. While this may not garner as much universal acclaim, it is a welcome change, as the group have displayed sonic maturity, diversity and development. In truth, though, we would have loved a little more of the rock’n’roll that the band have become known for, and we’ve a feeling fans will be left with the same yearning.