Album Reviews

Inhaler – It Won’t Always Be Like This

(Polydor) UK release date: 9 July 2021

Inhaler - It Won't Always Be Like This Son of a very famous rock star starts his own band. When the band first appear, the press are all over it. Upon the band’s debut album release, however, none of this is mentioned in any promotional material. Quite what the purpose of this is, one can only ponder but for the record let’s get it out there plain and simple just in case anyone didn’t already know. Irish quartet Inhaler’s frontman is the son of Paul Hewson, or, as 99.9% of the population know him, Bono. Of U2.

Eli Hewson may or may not have had some input into the blurb surrounding the band and whether the identity of his father would be mentioned again, although most people should know this by now. It’s probably a way of attempting to remain as independent as possible, wanting to be taken on their own merits without this huge fact hanging over them that would undoubtedly leave detractors shouting the usual cries of unfair advantage or a helping hand. It is, of course, a bonus and as the band have admitted does open a few doors, but the boys deserve to be appreciated without this tag as It Won’t Always Be Like This has its moments that suggest something promising is within their reach.

What they mustn’t do, though, is to tread ground that’s too similar to others – a neat trick if you can manage it, but if you can’t then the old classic indie landfill term is heading your way. Unfortunately, they don’t always manage this. Sickly sweet Totally is too much like an early number from The 1975, My King Will Be Kind loses its way after using a riff that sounds like James in slo-mo – before adding cringey lyrics of “I fucking hate that bitch” – and the title track sounds like The Killers. But here’s the thing – in the case of the latter, it needn’t have done as the vastly superior single version veers away just enough from this comparison to sound hugely better, condensing into a shorter cut that is, in a nutshell, a sparkling gem of pop perfection. With this also being the opening track, the cream of their crop is annoyingly soured from the off.

Aside from the telling lyric “I could be a killer” inadvertently revealing another likeness for Brandon Flowers and co. in broad daylight, My Honest Face is actually a decent track, its racing, catchy riff and pounding bass driving the action. Cheer Up Baby is another highlight, boasting an addictive chorus despite revealing one of a smattering of occasional lyrical clichés (“sinking like a stone”) – it’s another slab of excellent indie pop. But there are too many mediocre efforts that counterbalance the peaks.

When It Breaks is directionless, sounding as if they’re trying too hard; Slide Out The Window, a slower cut, is dull; closer In My Sleep is indistinct, featureless even and What A Strange Time To Be Alive – no shit, boys – is short, pointless filler. On the other hand, A Night On The Floor is where the future may lie. It’s moodier, carries less instant appeal but is a cracker and brilliant touches of wah-wah guitar towards its conclusion point to considerable potential should this be a route they decide to focus on.

So, whilst Hewson junior’s connection could have been a vital one in the very early days, however they actually got here doesn’t matter. He’s clearly an accomplished songwriter in his own right and the band can knock out catchy moments; to be considered for bigger things, though, they need more of them and less blandness or style over substance like on the sparkly Who’s Your Money On. Focus on either this catchy pop side or venture out into a more unique identity as on A Night On The Floor and they could achieve something quite special.

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Inhaler – It Won’t Always Be Like This