DM3: One Time, Two Times, Three Red Light (1993)

When you're cooking up the shortlist of truly essential purveyors of quality power pop, you're gonna have your Matthew Sweet, your Tommy Keene... and your Dom Mariani. And the fact that Australia's Mariani remains well below the radar is a freakin' crime.

Mariani's first band, The Stems, released a few solid albums in the 80s, pure 60s garage band revivalism with killer pop hooks. In the 90s, after a one-off with the wonderful jangle-pop band The Someloves, he reappeared leading the DM Three (later the DM3), and has released a slew of fantastic power pop albums under that moniker. (Mariani has also released albums with various other configurations, like the edgier psychedelic outfit Datura4, a revived Stems, and under his own name; for a sweeping overview of his work, track down the compilation Popsided Guitar).

While such a large body of work can be intimidating for newbies, the DM3's 1993 debut is a pretty ideal starting point--chiming, jangly power pop, with production courtesy of the legendary Mitch Easter (who produced early albums by R.E.M., Game Theory, and a million other bands, as well as helming Let's Active). The album is chock full of tunes fighting their way onto your latest party mixtape.

Opener "Like This" sets the template -- infectious guitar hooks out of the Pete Townshend playbook, ferocious energy, sing-along choruses, etc. "Foolish" lets up not a bit, striking Tommy Keene-styled guitar pop-rock. Skip ahead and you've got the insanely joyous "1 Time, 2 Times Devastated," the greatest #1 power pop song you've never heard. But it's pretty much all great.

As I said, this is merely the entry point, and it's hard not to head down the rabbit hole to see what other Mariani-related records grab you. Dig into your wallet, folks.

Here's an audio rip of "Like This":
Here's a rousing live take on "1 Time, 2 Times":
...and a live "Foolish":
...and "Far From Here":

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