Glorious gem from Down Under
The roots of this go back to the summer. A wonderful album arrived at MVM Towers courtesy of those doyens of good taste, Alive Naturalsound. Datura4 were a band made up of – amongst others – Dom Mariani of Aussie legends The Stems and Gregg Cunningham of MVM favourites You Am I. If you haven’t caught this band you should, and the review is here.
It turns out that when Mariani wasn’t busy being ace in other bands he was at it in DM3, who between 1993 and 2003 released plenty of records. “West Of Anywhere” is grab bag of best of and rarities and it too, like Datura4, is absolutely superb.
“Power Pop” is what they deal in and whilst those might be a dirty words to some, we say shut up! Cheap Trick, Redd Kross, Fountains Of Wayne, and closer to home the phenomenal Silver Sun have been exponents of hooky, catchy, yet meaty songs with incredible harmonies and choruses, and it never did them any harm.
On this evidence DM3 are right up there in that class.
Here, really it is best to start at the beginning. “One Times, Two Times Devastated” comes on like a supercharged “Born To Run” and the lyrical simplicity dealing in lost love is set to the best chugging riff you’ll hear. If you don’t like it, turn off the stereo and we’ll see ya later, if you do then we’ve got good news. There’s 17 more songs here and they are all this good.
Pick any at random and you’ll find a gem. “Please Don’t Lie” adds an acoustic strum, “Something Heavy” is more soulful perhaps, but still the premise is the same. Lyrically downbeat and yet wrapped up in the most uplifting way possible.
Take the basic rock n roll boogie of “Speed Freak”. It’s just about the perfect pop song, and it’s far from the only one. “Cant Get You Want” is an action packed romp, and “Hold On” kicks off like it wants to be the theme from Friends, but it’s an almost bluesy track with harmonies to die for.
Of course the phrase “pop” has been subverted and these days means clowns with good looks and no talent winning a reality tv show. It used to mean “popular” and the best pop – that is to say accessible music – has always been shot through with a longing and a sense of desperation. DM3 know this. It would be possible to love a song like “Second Floor” without listening to its lyrics. Those that get the sentiment here will find more to enjoy still – and that’s it’s skill.
The last song here, “Just Like Nancy” collects bonus points for adding hand-claps to its drums. And this ode to the “girl in boots on the 5.15” is a fitting end to what is a fantastic collection.
You might not know DM3. If you like timeless power pop, then you should make it your business to acquaint yourself immediately, because that’s all you’ll find here.