There’s something quite unique about Hays Dowdy and their latest single Inside the City that feels quite refreshing. The song is bright and optimistic, depicting a city full of warm and lovely people who’re there to welcome you with open arms to the party. This is probably the first time we’ve heard of alt-rock being so lively, high-energy, and theatrical without being too “poppy”. The song goes into quite complex harmonies and structures, favoring storytelling cadence instead of conventional pop. The mental whiplash I’ve experienced while listening is quite unique, in that my 90’s alt-rock instincts are going off alongside my theater loving side–two components that had seldom interacted in this context before, especially in such a positive tune. Perhaps because it’s trendy to be a ‘doomer’ these days or I haven’t listened to anything this bright in a while–either way it was a remarkable experience and I’d love to hear what other people think. This combination could have easily fallen flat but Inside the City is quite endearing, with Hays Dowdy’s infectious innocence and optimism shining through with every note and harmony.

Inside the City is inspired by a reaction to a life’s chapter that’s ending. What some would associate as a scary transition is depicted as a wonderful thing that we should openly welcome. It’s a point of view that inspires positive change, and that’s exactly why Hays Dowdy deserves your attention.

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