Inhaler – Cuts & Bruises

There is more than enough to show that this is still just the beginning for Inhaler.

Label: Polydor Records
Released: 17th February 2023


Some bands take a little while to find their feet, but it feels like Inhaler were instead born at a sprint and are still refusing to slow down. It’s only been a minute since they smashed their way to a Number 1 album first time around (none of that ‘indie bands only get to Number 2’ nonsense round here), and they’re already popping their head back in the front door despite never really stepping away from a hectic touring schedule. Wearing those cuts and bruises from the album title like badges of honour, album two sees them keep that momentum going and then some.

Effortlessly catchy from the off, ‘Just To Keep You Satisfied’ is as much of a triumphant opening as you get – the band once again proving that they are one of the best in the game at crafting those uplifting guitar pop anthems. Early singles ‘Love Will Get You There’ and ‘These Are The Days’ ride the same wave that have swept Sam Fender to sold out stadiums and festival headline slots, while (inescapably) sounding like U2 in their pomp – though Elijah has clearly inherited the skill of Knowing How To Make A Top Bop as much as anything else from his old man. Elsewhere, it only takes a couple of listens to tracks like ‘So Far So Good’ to fully engage those ear-worms and get them happily burrowing away under your skin. Even by the standards of a band who seemed to arrive fully formed, the first half of the record in particular is incredibly assured.

On the flip side to celebrating the good times of life in a band, and (most importantly) just being young, those emotional bruises reveal themselves over time, as darkness begins to creep in around the edges of those long nights and the group begin to show the tenderness that lies just beneath the surface. Gently probing at what we’ve come to expect from them on the country-tinged ‘If You’re Gonna Break My Heart’ and spiralling fan favourite ‘Dublin In Ecstasy’, there is more than enough to show that this is still just the beginning for Inhaler. What they’ll get up to when they’ve got time to breathe, that’s the exciting stuff right there.

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