Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out: can you imagine how many times you do it a day? Not once, not twice – we need to do it, at least, twelve times, per minute – which is, on average, 17280 times a day. In the meantime, we rest, we wake up, we eat, we smile, we listen to music, we dance: we live.
Today is a day to live. To feel. Of cementing the past and glimpsing an impressive present and future. Rock is not dead, my friends. And straight from Dublin, we have one of the purest versions of them all. Meet Inhaler and their irreverent first studio album.
It Won’t Always Be Like This
One, two, three, four: the Republic of Ireland quartet consists of Elijah Hewson (Lead Vocals), Robert Keating (Bass), Josh Jenkinson (Lead Guitar), and Ryan McMahon (Drums). They formed in 2012 when they were just over thirteen years old. They all met at school in St Andrews, Blackrock. A boy’s dream, clearly.
Three years on, they set their band name, Inhaler. This was because Elijah suffered from asthma and, like all kids, anything out of the norm was always…irreverent. The weapon Hewson used to help him? An Inhaler, of course. And with it, he would release his breath and his real instrument, his powerful vocals.
Everything right, at the perfect moment.
For those who don’t go into detail, there are connections that seem inevitable: Elijah is the son of Paul Hewson, better known in the music industry as Bono Vox, the lead singer of U2. If Bono Vox is synonymous with Good Voice, Elijah certainly inherited this extraordinary talent. As the saying goes: good genes pass from generation to generation, right?
Let’s move on. In 2017 they released their first musical snippet, which delighted everyone and everything. We speak of “I Want You“. Every shot, every blackbird: from then on, a few more appeared, from “It Won’t Always Be Like This“, “My Honest Face“, or “When It Breaks“. With each stretch, the popularity was increasing and, forgive us the geek expression, but the hype is truly real.
It’s not just us who became fans of the band from the first time we heard it. There are dozens, sorry, thousands of followers. And the popularity keeps growing because, in fact, there’s a natural talent here for everyone to see.
Because more than reminding us of the mythical The Stone Roses, Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen or U2, they also resemble, within their style, the most recent The Magic Gang, Spring King, Blossoms, Sam Fender, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Sea Girls or Declan McKenna. A promising generation, full of irreverent talent.
On to 2021. And it’s July, a hot month all over Europe. It’s time to have a great soundtrack, and that’s what the Dublin band’s first album of originals, It Won’t Always Be Like This, brings us.
The album consists of 11 themes, separated by 45 minutes.
We kick off with the song that lives up to the album’s name. “It Won’t Always Be Like This” is fresh, with a rhythm illustrating youth from the off. The future is now, and it kicks off here.
We move on to “My Honest Face“, one of the true anthems and singles from this album. The first song that comes to our minds when we think of festivals and live music. We’re already imagining the whole audience singing in unison and then an old-fashioned moshpit. It’s guitars, drums, bass, and voice connected by a single passion: music.
But it’s not all shrill sounds and breaking everything. “Slide Out The Window” is quieter – and we manage to capture the full essence of Elijah’s voice in this song. The rhythm, at one point, reminds us of Wolf Alice.
Mixing the frenetic pace with the more ballad-like earlier, we have “Cheer Up Baby” – a slow-burn that wins our hearts softly but suddenly unleashes on the most varied instruments at the same time, in just the right format. If the mixing of bands were possible, we would say that the fusion between The Killers and U2 would be something similar to this song. Bono and Brandon Flowers will certainly be proud of these boys.
“Night On The Floor” returns to a smoother pace, and it’s in this groove that we feel on a more night-time note, strolling, whether on foot or by car, over the twinkling lights of our favourite city. There’s an unshakeable urge to hold on to those who are with us. And with that, we dance.
We move on to “My King Will Be Kind“: “Do you think of me, as I am thinking of you? We savour the ballad, with all the right refinements for a declamation in pure rock state. We love it.
But after the ballad, it’s back to the moshpit. To the endless rhythm of the parties we so desperately want again. Of the happiness, the sweat, the beer, the friends, hovering in the air. And this is where “When It Breaks” comes in. Another of the singles from the album and definitely one of the songs of the year. It’s frenetic. It’s fresh. It’s Inhaler, no doubt about it. A hallmark of an irreverent band.
“Who’s Your Money On? (Plastic House)” mixes Friendly Fires, and their danceable grooves, with a clean rock format and a beat that will become timeless. We don’t want to kid ourselves: we think it’s a bass that’s in the background the whole time. It doesn’t vary much, but it’s already something that could be used all over the world. It’s brilliant.
“Totally” brings out all the youthfulness of the Dubliners. We open a cool drink and drink to the sound of it, because it makes perfect sense. Whether it’s in the garden, on the beach, in the country, in the city. It’s very strong.
Almost like a moment of introspection, in a pre and post-pandemic sense, we have “Strange Time to Be Alive“. For all of us, it’s strange what’s going on, and it’s at this moment that we feel ourselves in reflection, with this music entering our heads almost as if our consciousness is speaking to us. Creepy.
We close with “In My Sleep“, and it’s here that we unite all the best of the above: we have the raw and hard rock, an angelic voice that could either sing opera or break metal rooms, and all the atmosphere that surrounds them. We feel everything, almost as if they were in front of us. Screaming.
We took a deep inhale and discovered one of the best albums of 2021. It Won’t Always Be Like This is everything the Dublin band has been giving us in recent years: rock, young, with all the right ingredients, at the right time. You can dance, shake your head, reflect, and take a deep breath. A WtMM recommendation.