I was out having a Thai dinner with friends recently, the day after I first sat down to listen to the second album of Sydney band DMA’s. As we sat down and ordered a vast variety of dishes for this midweek banquet, it dawned on me that this dinner I was about to pay $30 for was pretty much the same as what DMA’s had put together on new album For Now: a mix of sweet and savoury tunes, beefed up by what you expect from the band, whilst also throwing in a couple bags of mystery that undoubtedly spice up the experience.
Metaphors aside, For Now is a massive step forward and a slight step sidewards for a band that seemingly broke out of a Brit pop era twenty years and a few continents removed. What is undeniable is the bands ability to write a straight out pop banger. For a band to play with three natural songwriters, lead single “Dawning” highlights their outright tune-making prowess, as the band maintains the simplicity of the sounds first heard on the debut album and EP. With that in mind, the guitar licks in the middle of the song prove to be a real highlight moment of the track.
A fair bit has been noted about how much the band draws their sound from 1990’s England. And it’s a fair call. Having grown up in a household whose music tastes were impacted heavily by his English father, front man Tommy O’Dell acknowledges that a lot of his childhood and teen years have definitely influenced the new music written for DMA’S. Another notable influence on For Now is producer Kim Moyes, of dance lords The Presets.
While none of the tracks on For Now are downright melt-your-face club bangers, the influence of Moyes can be felt on “The End”. A track that initially wasn’t going to be on the album, under the guiding light of Moyes, it was toned down and shaped into a refined alt-disco centrepiece; providing For Now with just enough difference to make the listener really absorb what is happening.
The heartfelt “In The Air” is a great cornerstone on the album, as you’re drawn back to the sound DMA’s first broke out with back in 2014. A personal highlight of the album comes in the shape “Warsaw”; the dreamy Sunday morning track of lovers, pancake breakfasts and slowly diminishing hangovers. Without listening to the track, just picture a cross somewhere between The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love”, and Modern English’s “I Melt With You”. Just like “Warsaw”, “Lazy Love” is a love song at its core that will warm your cold heart just that little bit more.
While much of For Now is what you’d come to expect from DMA’s, there are moments of brilliance and change that definitely do help it differentiate itself from its predecessor, Hills End. Whether that be the opening and titular track “For Now”, with its warped and wobbly guitar track, or the fulfilling, tragic and downright beautiful album closer “Emily Whyte”, For Now is a solid, if not entirely biblical effort from the Sydney trio.
For sure, For Now is more rounded than its predecessor, and has shown that the band are more than just three lads that seemingly came out of nowhere. With just enough mystery and difference on the album, DMA’s. have proven that their pop sensibilities are best delivered when you’re open to trying a little bit of everything; just like a tasty mid week Thai dinner.
Review Score: 7.6 out of 10.
For Now is out now via (I OH YOU).