ALBUM REVIEW: DMA’S THE GLOW

Full of ingenious guitar trips, prismatic melodies, and heart-wrenching lyrics, The Glow is bigger and better than anything DMA’S have done before. As a body of work, it shows the trio have never been mere replicas of heritage bands, but rather their own immensely talented composers.

The Glow opens with ‘Never Before’; a track that unconsciously nods towards early Brit bands with vocals that fluctuate in a Gallagher-type drawl, despite the band’s influx of other influences and contexts. DMA’S popularity exploded in (quite a large) part because of their extraordinary stage presence; their songs that seem almost written for the fans to shout back to them, and there is no lack of such material on The Glow.

The following track shares its title with the album, and comes accompanied by an electrifying video. The song is a patch-work in its lyricism; the band explain that “some parts were written when we were going through break-ups and others were written more recently when our lives were very different.”

The group released ‘Life is a Game of Changing’ earlier this year. Inspired by the early 90s rave scene, Life Is A Game Of Changingis a nod to bands like Underworld, New Order, Orbital and The Chemical Brothers and furthers DMA’S incorporation of digital beats and sequencers in their songwriting process.

The track started as a demo recorded above the Botany Bay Hotel while Johnny and Mason were living upstairs. It didn’t find it’s place on the band’s previous two albums, but became the band’s entrance song at gigs. The song’s time finally came when Johnny was living in Edinburgh, writing for The Glow and came back to the bones of the track and fleshed out the idea. Mason and Tommy added their parts, and the song was finished.

We’ve also seen them release ‘Silver’, the band’s fastest streaming song to date. The anthem comes already well-loved, as a hit perfect for festival sunsets and their often sold-out shows. Lyrically and sonically, many of the tracks express nostalgia and some sort of longing: they explore what it is to be living among turbulence and uncertainty. The result is tracks that are thunderously anthemic and somehow, also, arrestingly beautiful in their gentility.

‘Strangers’ and ‘Learning Alive’ take us back to ‘Delete’; the band haven’t forgotten their talent for beautiful composition and candid lyrics that paint out every stark emotion. ‘Learning Alive’ is stripped free of the electrifying, stadium-ready guitars of previous tracks, shifting focus on upfront, open lyrics such as “we’re getting better with time”. Mason has stated it’s his favourite track off the record, and we have to agree that the transitions show a new maturity and talent in production that cannot be ignored.

The tempo is once again raised with ‘Hello Girlfriend’, a track making full use of colloquial writing to bring us in to the band’s latest deliberations and difficulties of expression. Tommy O’Dell’s beautiful voice once again falls in to the spotlight with ‘Appointment’; an initially-acoustic track that then bursts into light, air-filled guitar notes that seem almost to float.

Their May UK & Irish headline tour was postponed due to COVID-19 but the trio have already announced their  biggest London headline show to date, at Alexandra Palace on October 23rd. Tickets are on sale now.

For more about the album and its process, read our interview with the band here.

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