21st Oct @ Belle Angele
In 2014 the somewhat elusive, introverted and unruffled threesome DMA’s burst into an Aussie music scene drowsed by a sticky, loafing glut of electronica and neo-soul, bringing with them bolshy, gushing 90s-like tunes. Often likened to Oasis, with a ‘Madchester-like’ presence and grunge swagger, they soon found their way right into Australian hearts. and have done the same here since. With the release of their first LP, Hill’s End, earlier this year, La Belle Angele plays an intimate, albeit sweaty, host to the band on their second UK tour in just four months.
Frontman Tommy O’Dell, clutching his ever-present little tambourine, and guitarists Matt Mason and Johnny Took adopt an unassuming position on a bleary, blue-lit stage, staring mistily at the distant backboard like doped-out Liam Gallaghers. Tommy gives a little appreciative wave to the audience before the band launch themselves into their resonating opener ‘Timeless’, an entrance reminiscent of fellow Aussie underground rock legends GOD (check out their single ‘My Pal’, it’s an absolute classic). Reeling through their album, lurching seamlessly from song to song, the band come to life. The varied nature of their record sees a journey through all manner of musical modes. From the leering rawness of ‘Lay Down’ to the loping chorus of ‘In the Moment’, to the dizzying melodic peaks of ‘Your Low’ and ‘Melbourne’ the audience is kept in a buzzy state of euphoria, crowd-surfing and bouncing about everywhere. Amidst the ecstatic atmosphere, DMA’s bring out a couple of their more dizzying songs. ‘Step Up The Morphine’ and ‘Delete’, which landed just outside the iTunes top 10 album chart a couple of years back, have flashes of the disoriented sounds of The Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth, whilst ‘Blown Away’ and ‘The Switch’ bring back the days of Oasis. They even throw in a psychedelic cover of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’.
Despite the set’s raucous punk feel, Tommy’s slurred, vowel-blending vocals retain a clarity of pitch, whilst the bass and riffs from the two backing guitarists together with solid percussion underpin spiralling solos. Whilst achieving such musicality, DMA’s still manage to bring that in-your-face, gritty Brit-rock broil to the live venue with their jangly singalongs, Adidas trackies, and ‘DIY guts’.
Like many of the other emerging Aussie bands, such as Tame Impala and Hockey Dad, DMA’s seem appealing both on and off stage as they bring back music from its heyday. Great songs, played well but with a little roughness around the edges, make for a great gig all round.