“Everybody’s Saying Thursday’s The Weekend” – one of the singles here – won Radio X Track Of The Year. I don’t care about accolades; they always seem arbitrary to me, but it is indicative of a band that isn’t in my usual comfort zone. The radio in my car isn’t tuned to Radio X, let’s just say that – and DMA’S are one of only a few bands of this type I’ve ever reviewed. It’s not my ballpark. Liking Oasis doesn’t qualify me as an “indie kid,” and I’ve written before about how I saw the band by mistake, almost. But you can’t ignore something as good as them. As original as them and as fresh as they sound.
And on “How Many Dreams?” they’ve really opened the sonic toolbox and made something that still sounds like them, but has pushed the boundaries in the most incredible way.
“How Many Dreams?” swirls in the vocal on the opening track. It’s the first line, and it seems to encapsulate the feeling that nothing is off-limits. This is three kids (live there’s more of them, on record, it’s the trio at the core), living out the fantasies they always had, but it’s more. As ever, it features a driving acoustic sound that sets them apart from other rock bands (indeed the question of whether they are a “rock” band anymore is debateable). “Olympia” is a further expansion of their sound, with Tommy O’Dell’s vocals sounding even more strident than his stage act. The Britishness of their sound is highlighted, as well as the lead sound – and Matt Mason is in fine form here too.
The aforementioned “Everybody’s Saying Thursdays the Weekend” (why wait as late as Thursday?) is a dance track that envelopes you. Nothing underlines the brave new world like this. The vocals harmonise perfectly, and it’s almost the other side of the same that “Dear Future,” which pulses over a strident beat with Verve-like strings, is from.
“I Don’t Need to Dream” has an ’80s sounding opening that explodes with 2000s hope. And when O’Dell sings “it’s our time honey, yeah,” there’s a very real chance he might be discussing the band as much as anything else. On “Forever,” strings are back, underlining that this isn’t a conventional band. They ask the question, “how do we find love?” And it poses no answers. It’s not even immediately clear if they even want “love.”
“Fading like a Picture” is an anthemic track that seems made for live stages, while “Jai Alai” is a contrast with its fragility and piano sound. “Get Ravey” has something of Stereophonics here, that effortless arena rock. A lot of these feel personal; “21 Year Vacancy” does for sure and is indicative of their original use of melody.
“Something We Are Overcoming” is built on the pop music they’ve hinted at, and it will be interesting to see if they replicate it live. Finally, “De Carle” has a trippy, trance-like sound that showcases DMA’S versatility. Nothing they’ve ever done belongs on the sweaty, pilled-up dance floors quite like this.
Speaking about the record, Matt Mason reckoned it was the sound of “carefree abandon” – and there’s a bit of that. There’s the sound of a band letting themselves go, for sure, but also the sound of a band who knows it’s now or never. DMA’S are at a point where they can sell out tours in clubs; that’s not enough. They’ve always appeared destined for more, and “How Many Dreams?” is the latest step to those hopes being realised.