DMA'S Hills End on LP + Download
Hills End is a dream come to fruition for Newtown, New South Wales trio DMA'S, a collection of the band's endeavors over the past three years and, sometimes, beyond. It's a record that takes each individual's own influences – folk artists like Dylan for Johnny Took, "American guitar bands from the '90s," for Matt Mason and English bands passed down to Thomas O'Dell by his older brother and Liverpudlian dad like The Beatles, The Stone Roses and The La's – and throws them all in one big mixing pot.
"Blown Away" is a crestfallen ode to one of Took's friends leaving Australia for a new life overseas, all distant, crunching beats, stoic strings and solemnly strummed guitars. Album opener "Timeless," meanwhile, is a brash and blustering mix of chiming, Pixies-esque lines from Mason and an intense, barked vocal from O'Dell. "In The Moment" lopes like O'Dell's beloved Roses, and "Too Soon's" chorus boasts the rough and ready riffs of Nirvana's grunge glory days. It's that that makes DMA'S music so enticing – on first listen you might think you've got them pegged with the obvious, but give them another spin with a closer ear and all kinds of varied nuances start bringing themselves to light.
Hills End was recorded partially in a studio in Coogee, Sydney, but "the most important" bits were done in Took's old flat at Buckland Lane. Every morning when he woke up, he'd flip the mattress against the wall, settle down to write or record, then flip it back down when it was time to sleep. He, too, was the album's main producer, foregoing someone with more knowledge to maintain the band's control over the results – with Dylan Adams taking on the engineering role. The band were of course open to suggestions when Dave ‘Spike' Stent offered to mix the record, which he then did in London and LA.
Wasting time isn't what DMA'S are about. Their debut album might not even have been released yet, but they say they've already got enough songs written for a second album. They're a band that are constantly writing, constantly experimenting, splicing bits of old songs together to make something new like an audio Frankenstein's monster. That creative drive and curiosity combined with their unflappable outlook and sheer, undeniable talent has, in Hills End, already produced a body of work that's both intriguing and captivating.