Take in a deep breath, listen to Inhaler’s ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ Inhaler’s debut album tops charts with a confident indie rock sound

Inhaler crafted their debut album during the pandemic, becoming the first Irish band in thirteen years to go No. 1 in the UK.
Rating: B-
Photo Credit: Polydor
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In the last few years, Dublin-based rock band Inhaler has been gaining popularity in their hometown of Ireland, as well as internationally. The four-person band, named after lead singer Elijah Hewson’s asthma, was founded in 2012. Hewson, bassist Robert Keating, guitarist Josh Jenkinson, and drummer Ryan McMahon met in college. After releasing singles and playing small gigs for years, Inhaler finally released their debut album

The title track, “It Won’t Always Be Like This” opens with Hewson’s dynamic vocals, singing “Well, I wanna be the best at what I do / Oh, what about you?” Originally a break-up song Inhaler wrote in their teens, this track dramatizes a coming of age story. Hewson expresses his regret after breaking up with a girl, but also emphasizes his optimism that he won’t feel angry or heartbroken for long. While using energetic synths and swift pedals to add dimensions to the song, the title track sets the tone for the rest of the album as defiant and optimistic about the future.

The second track “My Honest Face” alludes to the subject of sociopathy and toxic behaviors in society. Hewson sings “I could play the Joker / My made up smile broke your heart last night / No, no, no, I didn’t want to hurt ya / But there’s just a certain culture when you’re young.” Throughout the 2008 movie “The Dark Knight,” the Joker tells different stories about how he gains the scars on his cheeks. Like the Joker, the speaker in the song is lying about his face and lacking a transparent story. Hewson’s vocals are strong and aggressive, making the song emotional and come to life. 

My personal favorite track is “Cheer Up Baby,” a cheerful and heartfelt song with sweet lyrics and guitar frames. A bright guitar melody partnered with dynamic drums and bass line gives the song a catchy indie-rock theme that Inhaler is known for. Personally, I fell into a state of nostalgia throughout the song, especially as Hewson croons “When I think of all the things I didn’t do / Oh, I can’t help but blame it on you / Cheer up baby / You’re not on your own.” 

The second half of the album shows the band’s weakness in writing lyrics, and the instrumentals don’t save them. “A Night On The Floor” has a lack of depth, and it has no emotion or figurative meaning, similar to “My King Will Be Kind,” which leans too hard towards trying to be dramatic. Lyrics like “ ‘Cause she takes and she takes / But she won’t give in / And they love and they love / But I still don’t fit in” are vulgar outbursts of rage, rather than the smart writing they usually engage in.

With well-crafted songs, “It Won’t Always Be Like This” leaves listeners feeling emotional. The brooding verses in each song create themes of angst and anxiety, while at the same time embracing longing and sorrow. However, the guitars, synths, and drums almost always pull through and make the songs sound nostalgic. With a sound similar to artists like Snow Patrol, Sam Fender, and Blossoms, “It Won’t Always Be Like This” brings an indie inspired rock sound that should be added to your playlist.