Album Review: DMA’s – The Glow

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The Glow is a neon fever dream of an album, that is if you dream of a dance-floor in Berlin on mashup night – as it turns out, I do that now. Oh, and the DJ is an Aussie trying to convince you he’s from Manchester in the 90’s.

I have to strongly resist telling you what four songs minimum each of these tracks brings to mind, but I know you’ll come up with your own so let’s not give you the preconceptions! I’d love to tell you that the opener ‘Never Before’ is U2’s ‘Zooropa’ with Kasabian’s ‘Processed Beats’ with ‘Jesus Jones’s Right Here / Right Now and a whispered bit of Oasis’s ‘Go Let It Out’ (That’s the only one I’ll do ok?) because it would be a disservice, first of all, those comparisons would make this record seem derivative or like it’s strip-mining the early to mid-nineties for nickel or it’s looking fondly backward, and those are the last things The Glow is. So what is it?

Firstly, The Glow is visceral, it’s pumping, driving (probably going to help some police fulfil some speeding ticket quotas), and it’s chock full of adrenaline. Even the slower tempo songs like Silver have an uplift and hypnotic feel. I’m a doughy 40-year-old and I literally laced up my running shoes (which somehow have rust stains from disuse?). So, maybe The Glow started me getting back in shape! Ask me in six months.

Secondly, it’s more than a surface level dance-rock record; I’m a lyric vs music guy, and on first listen I admit, the icy chill vocals cut through the mix well enough but they somehow recede back under in reverb and that’s a great thing. Lyrics often don’t connect on first listen, therefore some of my favourites on the record are “oh back on earth, we’re still dreaming… never alone..” from ‘Never Before’ and “It’s funny that I think of you right now / Knowing all the years that turned to clouds / I’m still coming down” from ‘Silver’. Of course, words alone often seem smaller until you have the musical context, and the combination in these songs really take you somewhere else.

Thirdly, Stuart Price is a huge draw for me, his alter ego’s Thin White Duke and Jacques Lu Cont as well as others that escape me, those production choices and influences, I never thought it would work with this band but it’s a complete success. He takes much less of the rock out of the practice room sound than he has done with his admittedly sublime Killers work, and it really serves the DMA’s sound and energy.

A fantastic step forward for the DMA’s.

(Since completing this review Youtube’s algorithm has blessed me with the DMA’s angelic cover of Cher’s ‘Believe’ which I highly recommend any fan, of which I now include myself, should really check out)

Mike Rogers

Photo – McLean Stephenson

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