- 26 May 21
Recorded in Start Together Studios in Belfast with Ryan McGroarty of Beauty Sleep, 'Do You Think I'm Pretty?' is the first song of Niall McDowell's to be played with a full band
Belfast singer-songwriter Niall McDowell has returned with a brand new track, 'Do You Think I'm Pretty?', full of shimmering '90s guitar leads and psychotic power chords.
Written about "a boyfriend that wasn't really a boyfriend after a break-up that wasn't actually a break-up", 'Do You Think I'm Pretty?' is a chaotic ode to the moments within a relationship that are too specific to call out, in fear of seeming too much.
McDowell's debut EP Valentine arrived over a year ago, alongside the infectiously catchy single 'You Have My Heart'. Released in August 2019 without promo or management backing, the Valentine EP's glittering-yet-hazy guitar melodies and nostalgic lyrics were noticed for their soft, pensive melancholia.
Despite the artist having only posted the six-track EP to social media once after its release, his queer country single ‘Find Your Man’ impressively nestled itself in at #34 on Chordblossom’s Northern Irish Songs of the Year 2019.
His next standalone single, 'You Have My Heart' was released in April 2020, and acted as a transitional vessel between Valentine’s stripped back approach and the genre-shifting influences incorporated into McDowell's 2021 single series.
"Do you remember that specific song I sent you that I know you didn't listen to? Do you remember the name of that specific coffee shop in Nashville that you didn't show up to? What is my imprint on your life and will I ever know?" McDowell asks the subject on 'Do You Think I'm Pretty?'.
"There's only so much waiting around that a girl can do until it all falls through / What do you want from me?" Niall croons on the new track, his deep vocals shining through.
Recorded in Start Together Studios in Belfast with Ryan McGroarty of Beauty Sleep, DYTIP? opts for the stylings of Liz Phair and Snail Mail in order to ask an age-old, ever-important question.
This release is the first in a series of singles incoming from Niall to be released throughout 2021, with each in a different style and genre "to show charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent? Something like that?" according to McDowell's witty press release.
"'DYTIP?' was written as a way of acknowledging my own mania in regards to a certain relationship, and so I wanted it to sound a little insane and to feel a little bit off-kilter," Niall tells Hot Press. "I didn’t want to try and conceptualise it or shroud it in metaphor, I wanted to be confused and petty and let it be known, and being more direct in my approach to songwriting was scary but also freeing."
McDowell’s subtlety in creating lo-fi queer music that is both touching and accessible has allowed a small following to form, building momentum for his next project and eventual continuation of live performances.
Check out the addictive new track from Niall below:
Photo by Aaron Cunningham @Avcunningham