There’s an old saying in the music industry that bands get a lifetime to write their debut, and about six months to pen their second. If that’s the case, then brevity could be the master of invention for INHALER – faced with matching their internationally successful ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’, they’ve knuckled down and exceeded the grasp of their debut.
Recruiting producer and close collaborator Antony Genn once more, the record opens with zesty piledriver ‘Just To Keep You Satisfied’. Dropping the tempo a little on ‘Love Will Get You There’, it can feel like a fly-by-the-seat experience – perhaps ‘So Far, So Good’ is more apt than they think.
A record packed with thrills, ‘Cuts & Bruises’ aims for something fun, something that will connect with fans. There are plenty of moments here that will do just that – ‘Dublin In Ecstasy’ is seemingly an older song, but it’s given a fresh twist here, an arms-aloft moment for their young Irish audience.
Mind you, it doesn’t always connect in such a natural fashion. ‘Valentine’ doesn’t quite have the depth displayed by some of the lyrics on here, while ‘If You’re Gonna Break My Heart’ strays a little into the mawkish. But perhaps that’s churlish: INHALER are wearing their hearts on their sleeve, and for the most part it works. ‘The Things I Do’ is an excellent late-album highlight, while punchy closer ‘Now You Got Me’ ranks with the best of their slim but potent catalogue.
A helter skelter 11 track run-through, ‘Cuts & Bruises’ retains everything that made INHALER’s debt so effective while adding some excellent new elements. The sound of four kids from Ireland making a carefree racket, the album doubles down on their indie pop appeal, it proves that they’re here for both a good time, and a long time.
Words: Robin Murray