DMA’s are an Australian rock band who have been receiving a lot of attention of recent. They have a very interesting cross-section of influences, ranging from alternative/indie rock, elements of shoegaze, but most importantly a strong dose of Britpop. However, despite the presence of all these genres (or possibly because of), this new, their sophomore release, For Now, is bad.
Despite being so diverse in its influences, it takes the safest and boring aspects of them and doesn’t really do anything interesting. The album lacks any form of really catchy tunes, which is fine but then the tradeoff should be some interesting soundscapes, something to draw the listener in and make the experience worthwhile but there’s none of that either. It is a very boring listen, an album, that despite being only 46 minutes long with songs ranging from 3 to 4 and a half minutes, felt bloated. It is like Slowdive but without the dense textures, like Oasis but without half-decent songwriting.
On the subject of songwriting, the whole general concept of this album is “I love you so much, why won’t you love me” and it gets very irritating, very quickly. The way in which this ‘love’ is explored is very shallow and sounds like someone harassing another person who they had a one night stand with. The vocals have the same grading sense that a Cigarettes After Sex record would have, but thankfully the lyrics are not quite as obnoxious. Because of the very lackluster songwriting, this album loses steam very quickly. A lot of songs feel finished by the half-way point and then we are left with usually a repetition of the chorus that fades out with the rising but rather uninspiring instrumentals. This leads to this feeling that the album really lacks a whole lot of substance.
The album is very much a victim of the sordid state that rock music is currently in
Amongst all this criticism there are some high points on the album, there are points when the collecting and rising reach a suitable climax. Even on the song ‘In the Air’ which despite the annoying vocals leading the track out, does feel somewhat orgasmic. Also, I feel that the album picked itself up a bit near the end. The last three tracks feel by far the best, but I’m not quite sure why. Could be a placebo effect, as I realized that my time with this album was about to come to an end, and subsequently felt a slight sense of joy, which is a horribly cynical point of view and probably isn’t true. Even if this record did improve near the end, it was far too late and had already grown very stale.
Ultimately, I feel that the biggest crime that this album committed was that it was just very mediocre and never tried to do anything interesting or different. I might have been a bit less brutal had it tried to do something interesting but failed, instead, it was incredibly boring and failed. Therefore, I can’t really give it any leeway.
The album is very much a victim of the sordid state that rock music is currently in. Due to bands like Muse and Arctic Monkeys, all of the heart and passion of rock has been sapped out as it has become more and more overproduced. I’m not saying that rock music has to be low-fidelity because it doesn’t. However, the best rock music had this sense of wonder, this idea that with enough creativity, a group of teenagers could make incredible music in their basement (case and point, Spiderland by Slint). Now it’s just overly glossy and dull music, destined for a place in a FIFA soundtrack.