Power pop fans have occasionally pointed to this, Australian outfit DM3's sophomore release, as one of the best pop albums to come out of the mid-'90s and one of the cornerstone albums of the '90s Australian pop movement. Both may be true to varying degrees: Road to Rome is possibly the "classic" disc in the late-'90s Australian power pop scene, which included similarly talented bands like Ice Cream Hands, Even, Challenger 7, and Michael Carpenter. While the debit of Australian power pop is that it often favors slavish imitation over solid songwriting, Dom Mariani's ear for a hook is what makes Road to Rome stand out. Well, that and Mitch Easter's arena-ready production. Sounding like the Plimsouls playing with Badfinger and the Who, Mariani cranks it to ten more than a few times here. It lends songs like the excellent "Please Don't Lie" or the riff-heavy "Soultop" a glossy, almost '80s stadium rock vibe — in a good way. Sure, sometimes DM3 can get a little derivative and rest on their skinny tie-shaped laurels, but for the most part the chunky riffage and Easter's boomy production will be more than enough to please anyone who is motivated enough to seek this album out in the first place. -AMG
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