Album Review: Inhaler - It Won't Always Be Like This

Lily Holbrook reviews the long-time-coming debut record from the rising Irish indie-rock quarter Inhaler.

Lily Holbrook
9th July 2021
Hailing from Dublin, Inhaler are an Irish indie rock band on the rise. Fronted by Elijah Hewson on vocals, Josh Jenkinson leading guitar, Robert Keating on bass and Ryan McMahon on drums, the four-piece are an exciting act on the cusp of big success. Fizzing with an unruffled energy that speaks of a wisdom beyond their years, the quartet’s debut record is an impressive example of the sonic gems that can be born out of a year that brought live music to a standstill.

You only need to look at the record’s penultimate track as a symbol of the strange times that shaped an album far exceeding its debut status - in a fleeting moment of reflection, ‘What A Strange Time To Be Alive’ offers us all the space to mourn a year that left us questioning life as we know it.

Despite deep lyrics that offer the potential for melancholy, the up-and-coming Irish indie rock band’s debut record is filled with an air of carefree optimism. With distinctive post-Britpop tones and undeniable indie rock influences, the sound hails back to their musical upbringing. Reminiscent of bands like The Verve and New Radicals, the track ‘Who’s Your Money On? (Plastic House)’ strikes me as instantly familiar. Frontman Elijah’s soaring vocals in the opening half of the track create an energy that wouldn’t be out of place alongside big-name acts in an 80’s arena.

Standing out as one of the slower ballads on the record, the sensual, self-assured synths of ‘A Night On The Floor’ send waves of sonic euphoria rushing through the veins. Balanced with melodic layers that wrap you up and transport you back to a certain level of inner teenage turmoil, the track comes with the bittersweet promise that better things await.

Between dreamy melodies and singalong bangers, the record’s carefully crafted instrumentals shine throughout. The psychedelic guitar riffs that open ‘My King Will Be Kind’ are not dissimilar to The Cure, again confirming influences drawn from the classic rock bands of decades gone by.

Instilling their own modern element, the Irish quartet don't shy away from experimentation. Fiery and unapologetic indie-rock anthem ‘When It Breaks’ is a reminder that hard times are inevitable. But, just like the sentiment of the record’s catchy eponymous single, the four-piece never lose sight of the idea that the pain won’t last forever.

With melodies that build effortlessly to their soaring crescendos in tracks like ‘Totally’, the four-piece capture a sense of nostalgia throughout the record without making it feel too heavy. Infused with a passionate faith for whatever the future brings, Inhaler’s final message reminds us that whatever chaos is going on in the world, it won’t always be like this.

(4/5)

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AUTHOR: Lily Holbrook
MA Media & Journalism student and science sub-editor for the 20/21 academic year.

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