INHALER – It Won’t Always Be Like This

Dublin group’s debut impresses with its grasp of nuance…

Debut albums are a tricky business. It’s arguably the most important project you can face as a musician – get it right, and it’ll define you forever. Get it wrong, and… well, it’ll define you forever.

Causing a ruckus with their punchy live shows and decadent singles INHALER bucked pop trends to push guitar bands back into the mainstream, releasing a series of biting, state-of-the-nation singles. Debut album ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ contains more than a few of those beer-drenched live thumpers, but the album is often at its most impressive when the Dublin group grapple with nuance.

Opening with the title track – a previous single – ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ sets out its stall immediately. Forceful guitar-rooted songwriting, compact in nature and melodically executed, each song feels like a call to action – there’s ‘My Honest Face’ with its self-deprecating lyricism, or ‘Slide Out The Window’ with its wry middle eight and fist-pumping chorus.

That said, there’s more to INHALER than indie anthems. The middle section illustrates their maturity – ‘My Kind Will Be Kind’ feels like a definitive step forwards, musically and lyrically – while wallowing ambience that fuels ‘What A Strange Time To Be Alive’ is daringly out of sync with their peers.

Ultimately, though, it’s those pointed highs which ring out loudest. ‘Totally’ is a neat piece of disco-pop which dips its hand into Nile Rodgers’ pocket, and surging vocals that propel ‘In My Sleep’ feel ready for arenas already.

Constructed over Zoom during the long, strange months of 2020, ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ distills an optimism we can just about taste, but can’t quite feel. The sound of a band coming into their own, it finds INHALER taking a deep breath, and making the most important step forwards of their career.

7/10

Words: Robin Murray

– – –

– – –

-
Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.