It’s a fascinating position that Sydney indie-rock band DMA’S currently find themselves in. Early in 2016, the Brit-pop influenced trio overcame the hype created from their first single ‘Delete’ to conquer Australia and, funnily enough, the UK with their debut album, Hill’s End. As a result of this huge success, the group will be facing a precarious position often referred to as the sophomore slump. The position is even more interesting considering DMA’S have drafted in The Presets’ Kim Moyes on production duties.
With fans eagerly awaiting any slight sign of the impact that Moyes may have on DMA’S, it was ironic how their sold-out show at the Meat Market began. As lights were cut just prior to the band’s arrival on stage, the music over the speakers remained. The unreleased song being played had a recognisably Presets feel, but with the vocals of DMA’s front-man Tommy O’Dell. Could there be a fully fledged DMA’S & Presets collaboration on the way? We can only hope so.
Preceding the sneaky unknown song and DMA’S’ set, fellow Sydney band PLANET graced the support slot. The quartet sport a strikingly similar sound to that of DMA’S, particularly the undeniable Brit-pop inspiration. The Brit-pop influence is so heavy that front-man Matty Took’s dreamy, reverbed vocals may be mistaken to have a British accent. Personally, I love it. Matty’s vocals weren’t the only absorbing element of PLANET. There’s Jimmy Weaver’s driving bass grooves, Tom Peppitt’s pretty guitar licks and Harrison Stewart-Weeks’ propulsive and catchy drum rhythms. Combine it all and it comes together quite superbly. Watching PLANET was like seeing DMA’S’ little brother in action. It might have something to do with Matty Took actually being the younger brother of DMA’S guitarist Johnny Took. Just maybe.
Big brother Johnny and DMA’S demonstrated the experience they’ve been building around Australia and Europe for the past five years in their performance. Their on-stage presence has particularly improved since their show at Corner Hotel last year. Back then, the band almost seemed shy. They didn’t interact with the crowd a whole lot and definitely didn’t do anything unusual on-stage. Luckily, they had their terrific tunes to carry them along. However, DMA’S now had the live presence nailed and the songs are still just as brilliant, with the addition of a few newbies.
The trio-come-sextet on-stage began opened with slow-burner ‘So We Know’, through to the throwback ‘Feels Like 37’ and another laidback track in ‘Straight Dimensions’. Building slowly into the performance, there was finally a taste of a new look DMA’S on ‘Melbourne’, as the band took advantage of the vast stage area by bouncing around and adding some energy. As always, ‘Delete’ proved its popularity among DMA’S fans, as Tommy hardly had to sing throughout the performance, handing the duties to the crowd. Following this moment, the band really kicked the show into overdrive. Tommy taunted and played with the crowd and acted as a ventriloquist – if he signalled for the audience to raise their voice, they did.
DMA’S new single, ‘Dawning’ received a deafening reaction from fans. The song has been out for only a month and already everyone in the room knew the lyrics, reciting them back to the band. During the encore, DMA’S played another fresh song that is yet to be released. The track was far slower than the more upbeat natured ‘Dawning’, resembling songs like ‘Step Up The Morphine’. The band brought the performance to a conclusion with the overwhelmingly adored ‘Lay Down’, encapsulating the group’s high octane set.
In a period where DMA’S is well past their debut album, but yet to announce details of their sophomore effort, it was uplifting to witness the improvement in one of Australia brightest bands on the scene at the moment. They are evidently past the up-and-coming stage, rather DMA’S are now in the top echelon of Australian groups and, when it’s released, their second album will demonstrate the massive popularity they’ve gathered.