Irish indie rockers Inhaler are on the cusp of something great. The band, consisting of vocalist Elijah Hewson, bassist Robert Keating, guitarist Josh Jenkinson, and drummer Ryan McMahon, have released a number of hard-hitting singles in anticipation of their debut LP. Now, it’s all come together for their first album, It Won’t Always Be Like This.
If there’s a single word for It Won’t Always Be Like This, it would be exciting. Whether it’s the synths that sound like sirens in ‘When It Breaks’ or the straight-up disco of the title track, which also serves as the album opener, the boys in Inhaler waste absolutely no time bringing the summery vibes, propped up by the perfect balance of propulsive and bouncy basslines, chiming guitar work, and spacey keyboards.
Each successive song is another chapter in any young person’s life: sneaking out of someone’s bedroom in the morning on ‘Slide Out the Window’, sharing cigarettes and judging someone’s personality through their repetitive song choices on ‘Totally’, blaming your worst tendencies on the culture of being a kid and not knowing yourself yet on ‘My Honest Face’. Whatever form it comes in, youthful exuberance is pushed straight to the fore in every possible instance.
Sometimes the goofy immaturity takes a turn: ‘My King Will Be Kind’ deals with a broken relationship in the immediate moments after the break when the anger stage is at its most potent. Does the line “I fucking hate that bitch” read as cathartic or weirdly aggressive to you? Herein lies the only problem I had with It Won’t Always Be Like This: on the surface, I loved it. But when I tried to go deeper by analysing it, reading into the words, trying to get to a deeper meaning or message, the album began to show some slightness and bizarre juvenile tendencies behind its slick exterior.
Thankfully, the album sticks with joy as its predominant means of expression. It’s a fun album that sounds absolutely gigantic, like a 1980s synth-pop album meets Bruce Springsteen meets driving disco beats meets funk style bass lines. In other words: it sounds a lot like The Killers, especially early Hot Fuss-era Killers, and I find that to be pretty awesome.
Ultimately, It Won’t Always Be Like This is an album that could only have been made by four lads in the early stages of adulthood, where every emotion is heightened to the point where even the smallest sensations of life and love take on a sort of magnified grandeur. It’s not perfect, but it has fantastic musicianship, hooks for days, and a lively atmosphere that’s completely intoxicating.
So what’s your money on: do these lads make it because they’re four striking young men making highly enjoyable, if not especially challenging, indie pop or do they simply fade into the background along with the thousands of other bands trying to make it today? All that I know is that I wouldn’t bet against Inhaler, and if It Won’t Always Be Like This is just the beginning, I don’t think you should either.