Album Review

 Album Review: Inhaler: Cuts and Bruises

todayMarch 30, 2023 34

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By Erin Patterson

Music Journalist


This last month, Dublin-based alternative rock band, Inhaler, released their sophomore LP titled Cuts and Bruises. Their debut album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, allowed them to gain some traction in the industry. In addition to their own solo tour this past year, they also opened for the infamous Arctic Monkeys on the European leg of their world tour. If that couldn’t get any better, they will be opening for the Harry Styles show in Ireland at the iconic Slane Castle this June. In regards to my personal journey with Inhaler; after listening to Cuts and Bruises, I have now upgraded from ‘casual listener’ to ‘super fan.’


The opening track, “Just To Keep You Satisfied,” is a teaser for what you will be getting for the rest of the album. Not the strongest song lyrically on the album, but I believe its purpose is to ease you into the sound of the album, not necessarily the meaning. Containing a mix of crisp guitar and some funky synth and a simple melody, this song is an easy listen.


Shifting into the next song, “Love Will Get You There,” this is your classic pop-rock anthem. You have no choice but to tap your foot or break out into a full-on groove when this song is on. This is a showcase for every member of the band, specifically the lead singer, Elijah Hewson. His voice sits at such a nice place, blessed with a higher register. He also sings the lyrics with a somewhat whiny delivery, which helps relay the lyrics.


“So Far So Good,” why yes! This track is about a failed talking stage where the lead singer is battling himself, too afraid to commit. This song is repetitive lyrically, but Hewson’s vocal performance and the instrumentals make up for it. Not particularly a stand-out track, but still a good song to jam to.


Next, we have “These Are The Days.” If I had this song when I was a teenager, I would have been insufferable. A happy and nostalgic tune about going out and partying with friends and how it can distract you from your own mind. The melody and lyrics are very catchy and really make use of the bass and drums, which is different from what we’ve heard so far. This track has worked its way up to becoming one of my favorites from the album.


Now moving on to our heartbreak song. “If You’re Gonna Break My Heart,” is a simple yet strong track. I appreciate that they kept it upbeat as opposed to a heartbreak ballad. If you’re going to listen to a song about your heart getting smashed to pieces, at least you can dance the pain away. Again, the chorus of this song is extremely catchy and often gets stuck in my head, which I don’t really mind.


“Perfect Storm,” is the aftermath of “If You’re Gonna Break My Heart.” This song tricks you into believing it’s something that it is not. Starting off gentle and quiet, I first thought we would have our first slower song. Then the drums kicked in, allowing the song to crescendo into the classic Inhaler sound. The build of this song is really nice and upbeat, but still melancholic.


We have now made it to my favorite on the album, “Dublin In Ecstacy.” Something about listening to this song makes you feel like you’re the hottest person to walk the face of the earth. A sensual melody that transports you to the exact instance Hewson is singing about. The guitar on this song really shines, hitting you right in the chest. In my opinion, this is for sure the strongest song on the album.


“When I Have Her On My Mind,” is a track that I’m not sure how to feel about. I don’t think it’s a weak song, yet, it doesn’t really set itself apart from the pack. It’s a tough spot on the album, immediately following “Dublin In Ecstacy.” I will still groove along to this when it is on, but for me, it is a take-or-leave-it track.


We are now on an upward streak for the rest of the album. “Valentine,” offers something new to the album. The intro grabs your attention and makes you wonder where the song is going to go. Throughout the track, there are many times where you think we’re going to get this large climax musically, but we never do. Usually, this would upset me, but in this case, I think it really works.


“The Things I Do,” is a close second favorite to “Dublin In Ecstasy.” The keys and strings add so much without making them abandon their sound. There’s nothing about this song I don’t enjoy, the vocals and instrumentals blend so well together to the point it makes me feel like I’m about to start levitating into the clouds.


Onto our final track, “Now You Got Me.” Another one of my favorites, I think they made the right choice to close the album with this song. A bookend to “Just To Keep You Satisfied,” this song is a summary of everything we’ve heard so far. Lyrically, Hewson is surrendering to the person he has been singing about this entire time. This album was essentially him wrestling with his feelings about this subject, and now they have him right where they wanted him.


For only being active for two years and this being their second album, I think they are right on track to becoming a very successful band. This is just the beginning for them and after the release of Cuts and Bruises, the sky’s the limit.


Featured Image from Inhaler.

Written by: Preethi Mangadu

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