DMA’s fourth album, “How Many Dreams”, is a solid effort that showcases the band’s most sonically unique and diverse material. The album is full of catchy, guitar-driven tracks that are reminiscent of their previous albums, ‘The Glow’ and ‘Hills End’, but as a whole the latest record is delivered with a contemporary psychedelic twist that keeps things fresh and interesting.
The album kicks off with the energetic and anthemic title track, “How Many Dreams”, which immediately grabs the listener’s attention with its infectious chorus and whimsical delve into the realm of psychedelia. The song acts as a brief detour down a road of kaleidoscopic euphoria, which effectively showcases the bands developing songwriting and experimental musical focus. However, if like me, you are a sucker for the band’s swaggering guitar riffs delivered straight from the 90s; then sit tight, as they soon find their way back to their initial sound that made us all go fuzzy in 2016. The rest of the record features a mix of upbeat rockers and slower ballads that showcase the band’s versatility.
One of the standout tracks on the album is “Fading Like a Picture”, it is a hard-hitting track that stands as one of the group’s most infectious hits to date. The song is driven by a propulsive drumbeat and features some of the album’s most staggering guitar work. Lead vocalist Tommy O’Dell delivers a powerful and emotive performance, with his distinctive vocals perfectly complementing the song’s explosive energy. Another highlight is “Dear Future” a slower, more introspective ballad highlighting the band’s reflective nature. The song features a gorgeous melody and some of the album’s most heartfelt lyrics, with O’Dell delivering a tender and vulnerable performance that is sure to resonate with listeners. O’Dell’s jaw-dropping vocal range that is echoed through his distinct singing voice is further displayed in “I Don’t Want to Hide”, a signifier that despite the bands evolving electronic sound at heart still lays the frenzied emotion that navigates through the entirety of the record.
Throughout the album, the band’s tight instrumentation and infectious hooks make for an enjoyable listening experience. Guitarists Johnny Took and Matt Mason trade off riffs and solos with ease. This is demonstrated when listening to the monumental intro of “Olympia”. Furthermore, the intro to “Forever” acts as a time capsule, sending listeners to a catalogue of parka jackets and baggy blue jeans, reminiscent of the 90s Britpop era. “21-Year Vacancy” is a track that is wrapped in a silky velvet blanket equipped to aid your venture into the transmission of tranquillity. This is short-lived, however, as the next track “Something We Are Overcoming” blows the blanket back and transports you straight to the vibrance of the dancefloor.
Mason contributes solid and propulsive beats that drive the songs forward. Together, the band creates a cohesive sound that is both familiar and fresh, drawing on classic influences while adding their own unique spin to the world of EDM. Something we are Overcoming, spirals and pulses into the world of overbearing bright rave lights, although Tommy O’Dell’s vocal fits the track and allows it to contribute a fun and creative sentiment to the track. Lead vocalist Tommy O’Dell is also a standout on the album, delivering powerful and emotive performances that range from anthemic and energetic to tender and vulnerable. His distinctive vocals are a perfect match for the band’s guitar-driven, electronically infused sound, he brings a strong sense of personality and emotion to each track.
While the album does break new ground, offering strong glimpses into the way of experimentation, it is a solid collection of well-crafted songs that showcase the band’s evolving musical direction. The album’s most successful tracks are “Fading Like a Picture, “Get Ravey” and “Dear Future”. The album balances the band’s energy and intensity with moments of vulnerability and introspection, creating a dynamic and engaging listening experience.
Overall, DMA’s fourth album “How Many Dreams” is a promising effort that showcases the band’s potential as songwriters and performers. While the album is not without its flaws – some of the production on the more electronic tracks feel a bit green and is something that the band will definitely work on in the future. The band’s influences are sometimes a bit too obvious – it is a strong album that suggests the band has a bright future in terms of experimentation Fans of Britpop, indie rock and electronic music will find plenty to enjoy here, and newcomers to the genre will find a great introduction to some of its most enduring sounds and themes.