The four members of the Irish alt-rock band Inhaler – vocalist and guitarist Elijah Hewson, the frontman of the band and son of Bono (another nepo baby, how shocking!), guitarist Josh Jenkinson, bassist Robert Keating, and drummer Ryan McMahon just released their sophomore album Cuts & Bruises. This new record is a follow-up to Inhaler’s debut It Won’t Always Be Like This, which made an appearance at no.1 in both the UK & Irish Official Charts. It also became the fastest-selling debut album on vinyl by any band this century. Inhaler became the first Irish group to top the album charts with a debut in 13 years. For Inhaler, 2022 was packed with a relentless touring schedule including a run of festival dates, a Glastonbury performance, and many gigs in Dublin alongside support shows with Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon. The band once again are supporting Arctic Monkeys this year, as well as a stadium show opening for Harry Styles and kicking off with their new tour. Cuts & Bruises features 11 tracks and was produced by Inhaler’s long-term collaborator Antony Genn. Let’s review every track!
Cuts & Bruises, the latest album from Inhaler, broke my heart and smashed it into pieces. Not literally; it’s a reference to their song, “If You’re Gonna Break My Heart”, but it is an album that is full of heartbreak and a new sound that their first album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, didn’t have.
Track 1: “Just To Keep You Satisfied”
The first song on the album. Starting off strong already, there are definitely some excellent new elements that can be heard from this album on this track.
Track 2: “Love Will Get You There”
This song follows their soaring anthem, “These Are The Days,” which was released in June 2022. “Too busy waiting on the moment, and I tried so hard to forget, you could only be a silhouette.” With this being a breakup album, I think this could mean that they’re trying to get over this one person that they just can’t seem to forget and no matter what will always see them in some way.
Track 3: “So Far So Good”
“I guess it just feels like my only friend is my enemy,” later following along with, “You think I love what you do to me? I guess I’ll tell you what it feels like.” Wow. if that doesn’t sound like ‘I hate my ex and I’m going to write about it,’ I don’t know what does. We saw something like this in an older song by Inhaler, “My King Will Be Kind,” on their first album It Won’t Always Be Like This.
Track 4: “These Are The Days”
‘‘I’m stranded here again, another Friday night” I guess Inhaler likes putting days of the week in their songs. Based on the lyrics, this song is one of the happier songs on the album. I think this song is one of my favorites. Regarding the lyrics, it really does remind me of being at one of their shows. “These are, these are the days that follow you home, these are the days, I don’t miss the feeling of being alone.” That lyric really shows how much the band loves to perform and go on tour. That feeling of getting on stage and performing for their fans; us being here supporting them.
Track 5: “If You’re Gonna Break My Heart”
We got a sneak peek of this song before the album was released. Inhaler played “If You’re Gonna Break My Heart” at very few of their shows. A similar thing was done with track 7, “Dublin In Ecstasy.”
Track 6: “Perfect Storm”
Similar to “If You’re Gonna Break My Heart”, track 6 is one of the more slow-paced songs on the album, but still maintains a similar sound to the other tracks we’ve heard so far. Inhaler did something like this on their first album, It Won’t Always Be Like This (IWABLT) with the song “Totally.”
Track 7: “Dublin in Ecstasy”
The most anticipated track from the album. Inhaler fans were most excited about hearing the studio version since the band has teased their fanbase by playing it live at a few shows for quite some time. Now that we finally have the studio version, it’s even better than we anticipated.
Tracks 8 and 9: “When I Have Her On My Mind” and “Valentine”
These are some of the more romantic songs on the album. The guitar work on both of these tracks is excellent and really shows off Elijah Hewson’s vocal skills that we don’t really get to hear on the rest of the album. I could see that the beginning of “Valentine” could possibly be inspired by a The Strokes song, who the band is a huge fan of.
Track 10: “The Things I Do”
This has to be one of the more “outcast” songs on the album but in a good way. It’s so different from anything they have ever done, featuring a violin and some piano. We also get to hear more of bassist Robert “Bobby” Keating’s angelic vocals, which we don’t get to hear often. On It Won’t Always Be Like This, featured on track 10, we get a minute and four seconds of just Bobby’s vocals. The entire fanbase hopes to see more of Keating’s vocals in the future because it’s just too good to not be heard.
Track 11: “Now You Got Me”
The final song on the album is definitely my favorite out of all 11 tracks. The sound is more intense than anything they have ever played, which also was stated by Elijah Hewson. “Now You Got Me” was a great way to end the album and this song really represents the new era of music and sound that the band has created.
This concludes the Cuts & Bruises album review, with the guitar riffs and the intense bass, followed by an explosion of resounding vocals that make this album what it truly is: a new yet familiar sound for the band. This new record packed with thrills gives Inhaler space to keep growing and continue developing a sound that is more distinctly their own. This album alone has proved that already. Now give this album a listen, and come see the band here in New York City on March 17!