Album Review: Inhaler – Cuts & Bruises

Since their emergence in 2018 and their 2021 debut record, ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’, which coined them as the first Irish band in 13 years to earn a number-one spot with their debut, Inhaler have been a staple in the British indie rock scene. Two years later, the group has returned with their second record ‘Cuts & Bruises’ which follows along the already established path of their soundscape but feels more refined and crafted for global stardom.

The opening song of the album called ‘Just To Keep You Satisfied’ stands as a strong start to the record, embellished with interesting melodies and guitar riffs that invite you to a listen while walking through the busy streets of a city. While the instruments blend together very well and create a smooth beginning, lead singer Elijah Hewson – son of rock veteran Bono – offers a mysterious, silky feel to the track thanks to this sultry voice, which is quickly underlined by an addictive rhythm that sparks the urge for more.

What follows are the previously released singles ‘Love Will Get You There’, ‘These Are The Days’, and ‘If You’re Gonna Break My Heart’, which have already successfully settled themselves in the group’s discography with their typical catchy Inhaler indie rock hooks.

Nestled in-between are the stunning ‘So Far So Good’, which starts with a calm and easy sound, but then takes a stronger turn and erupts each time in the chorus, as well as the emotional ‘Perfect Storm’, which is one of the many love songs on the record and sparkles with a magical blend of electrifying instruments and Hewson’s soft voice.

The Irish four-piece then pays homage to their hometown in the rocky ‘Dublin in Ecstacy’, a longtime fan favourite which has been part of the band’s live shows for years and finally got its studio treatment. And then we once again enter the world of love songs, with the sugary ‘When I Have Her On My Mind’ and the heartfelt ‘Valentine’, which was recently released as a special one-off vinyl for Valentine’s Day.

Perhaps the most imposing track of all comes along with the second-to-last number on the record, the grand ‘The Things I Do’. Highlighted by bellowing violins and glimmering guitars, it’s a definite standout on the album and offers a new sound to the band’s musical vault. Bringing the long-player to a final close, the electronic-heavy ‘Now You Got Me’ sounds quintessentially Inhaler-like and works as a fitting testament to the direction the quartet is moving to.

In a world where being put into defining boxes has become something that needs to be urgently avoided, Dublin-born and bred band Inhaler are more than happy to stick with what they know and do best. Easily approachable for casual listeners and enticing enough to invite to a looping listen, their second record stands proudly as a thoroughly enjoyable collection of indie-rock hits that will soon be chanted by crowds all over the world and push the band to even greater heights.

Inhaler’s new album ‘Cuts & Bruises’ is out now. Follow them on Instagram and Spotify.

Written by Jamina Roobrouck & Laura Weingrill

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