I remember getting Definitely Maybe in 7th grade and running into the dining room to play “Up in the Sky” for my mom. “Listen to how much this sounds like the Beatles,” I said. Pride swelled in my adolescent mind; I had made a legitimate comparison. I can only imagine a 7th-grader today saying to his or her own parent, “Check out this Australian band called DMA’s that I found on YouTube. Listen to how much they sound like that one old band you like, Mirage or something.” “Oasis, you mean?” the dad might say. Yeah, that’s the one. The resemblance is striking, but lead singer Tommy O’Dell might have a point when he says, “I think if you put an acoustic guitar down with a poppy melody and noisy guitars over it, it’s going to sound like that [Oasis] anyway.”
Themselves revivalists, Oasis created a sound in the 90s so appealing to the masses that by now it has been revived at least a couple times by a long list of bands, not the least important of which is DMA’s. Originally based out of Sydney, Australia, then signed to Mom + Pop Records in the U.S. (the same label that carries Courtney Barnett, another Australian). DMA’s consists of three members, though their touring band has recently expanded to six to help replicate that “wall of guitars” sound in a live setting.
“While some bands can get snippy after one too many comparisons to other bands by journalists, Took [another member of the band] is happy to acknowledge the band’s influences, listing Primal Scream, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Bruce Springsteen, Sonic Youth, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson and, yes, Oasis.”1
“Delete” is the well-received single that helped propel DMA’s into the limelight, and that song appears on both last year’s self-titled six-song EP, as well as their debut album Hills End which was just released in February. Hills End is full of catchy songs that drum up a number of obvious comparisons. Arctic Monkeys first came to my mind, but the profundity of Oasis comparisons they have received in the press is more than appropriate. Tommy O’Dell just sounds like Liam Gallagher, holding his notes, not hiding his accent, and slowly enunciating the words. Imagine the way Liam sings, “Is it myyy imaaginay-she-unnn?” on “Cigarettes and Alcohol” and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what this means. Or see for yourself in this performance of “Delete” from youtube:
So even if they do sound just like Oasis, Oasis was an amazing band, and we need more of those, so please, revive all of the great sounds of the past, all the bands that have wowed us from past generations. It’s like Plato’s idea of the forms: that there is just that one perfect “form” of any one thing (a chair, a bed, a band) that exists somewhere in the cosmos, and everything we witness down here is just a copy of that original form. Of course this idea is ridiculous, as if there’s just that one form of the quintessential Britpop band, and all the Kula Shakers, Pulps, Blurs, Ashes, and Oases are just faded imitations of that greater form. Though not the original form, DMA’s fits well into the category of Britpop. They don’t necessarily make it priority no. 1 to craft their own original sound, but is there anything wrong with that? Not to me. Personally, I hope more bands are as successful at reviving the 90s alt rock sound as young band has already been, especially if their idols are used as springboards towards further expansion and experimentation.