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Inhaler (Interscope)

The alchemy of music that is at once familiar and new is the sought after formula for conjuring instant fandom out of the casual listener. If 2021’s debut, It Won’t Always Be Like This, the first Irish-born album to debut at Number One in the U.K. in over a decade was any indication, the confident follow-up Cuts & Bruises by foursome Inhaler is facing golden roads in the U.S. and beyond as word begins to spread. One foot firmly in Alternative, the other in Pop, fully belonging in both as opening runs booked with Arctic Monkeys and Harry Styles might indicate, there’s much to enjoy from this fully-firing guitar band.

Simple but poignant songs tell the story of a band coming to terms with the commitment necessary to one another and their shared vision, as well as the celebration of love and, inadvertently, youth. A quarter of the way in we get to “These Are The Days,” a top-down anthem of the summer joy-ride. “That feeling of being in a band again, being back out on the road again, definitely shaped the lyrics for that song,” says drummer Ryan McMahon. “So we thought it would be the perfect curtain call, nodding to where we’ve come from with It Won't Always Be Like This, and moving onto this new album.”

Follow-up, the memorable “If You’re Gonna Break My Heart,” is a Nashville-inspired take on traditional Country story-telling. “When we were touring America, we were listening to all of that country music, The Band, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash. And there was something about this song that just didn't really feel like anything that we had done. The lyric in the chorus that kind of really grasped everyone: ‘If you’re gonna break my heart/smash it to pieces/because I’m not gonna need it/as much as I do right now.' We knew this was something special, an avenue we hadn't really explored before. And the song really does tear you apart,” bassist Rob Keating explains.

Having a deep relationship with a producer understanding of the band's vision keeps everything on track and here Inhaler have BritPop pioneer Ant Genn (Pulp, Robbie Williams, Joe Strummer). Recording between tour runs, Genn lit the fuse. “We've known him since we were 17, 18,” notes lead singer Elijah Hewson. “He's like a nuclear reactor in terms of his energy and heat. He’s a bit like: ‘Come on lads! These songs aren't good enough! Let's fucking finish them!’ And we needed that. Especially if you're coming off tour, being really fucking exhausted, and you find it hard to get motivated. Ant was always there to light the fire under our arse.”

Hewson perhaps knows a thing or two about work, having inherited both the strong vocal clarity and determined work ethic of his father, U2’s Bono, but the songs are their own. “The subject matters of the songs are still all about coming-of-age stuff – the standard stuff you write when you're a teenager,” continues Hewson, the band’s principal lyricist. “But it also became a little bit more about being in a band. These songs are less about the world around us, and more about what's going on inside Inhaler.”

Outside of Inhaler, audiences are enjoying tracks by this band on the verge spinning at KRVB, KXT, KPNW, WNXP, and many more.



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