By Dani McKenzie | 17 March 2023
Inhaler, hailing from Dublin, Ireland, long-time best mates, and easily one of the most exciting bands to hit the scene in the last decade, have finally released their long-awaited sophomore album, Cuts & Bruises. With an 11-track lineup Cuts & Bruises delivers in virtually every way. It builds off the band's already established sound and their evolution is palpable, everything they have learned in their whirlwind of a career present throughout.
After the hard halt of lockdown that allowed the band the time to produce their first album, It Won't Always Be Like This, and the success of the record itself (it charted at #1 in the UK, Scotland, and Ireland, making Inhaler the first Irish band to top the UK album charts in over a decade) in July of 2021, Inhaler have been seemingly nonstop. From their own headliner tours, to supporting massive artists like Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon, and soon Harry Styles, Inhaler are one of the hardest working bands on the scene. Even Cuts & Bruises itself was made during the in-betweens of touring.
The energy of the band—made up of Elijah Hewson on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Robert Keating on bass guitar and backing vocals, Josh Jenkinson on lead guitar, and Ryan McMahon on drums—is electric. Everything from their growth as artists to their relationship with their fans and the way they are able to connect with people, screams that they are only in the beginning stages of taking the world by storm.
In the press leading up to the release of this album, the members of Inhaler spoke about the conditions from which this album was born, particularly in contrast to their debut album. Made in mere months, Cuts & Bruises culminates everything the band have learned from their live experiences and the new sounds they’ve picked up along the way. It was a similar recording process, but with much less time and much more pressure. They spoke in depth about the album itself (including its title) being about the inner workings of relationships, most specifically their own as a band. It demonstrates what they have gone through in their "marriage" as a unit and how they may have a few Cuts & Bruises to show for it, but they're still going strong. At their very core together they want to continue to make music that speaks to people.
With seamless nods to artists and music that have inspired them at every turn, from artists that brought them together in their taste like the Stone Roses, to their more recent found love of Americana with hints of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and the general country music genre, Inhaler are making the music they love and they're damn good at it.
The album is a reflection on the music that influenced them, developed into their very own sound. Nostalgic, emotional, lyrically excellent, reflective, blazing with talent, and full of love, Cuts & Bruises has earned itself a lovely seat in the sophomore album hall of fame.
There really is nothing like a band that loves the music they are making and love each other just as much. When it comes to Inhaler, they really don't leave it to the imagination. From the way they talk about their music and bond with pride and excitement, to the way they talk about music in general with passion and hope, this is a band that has something to say and is actively working to find a larger audience to share it with. Criss-crossing around genre lines and making a name for themselves, I am sure Cuts & Bruises will serve as one of many masterpieces and accomplishments in Inhaler's career.
Cuts & Bruises feels like the music I wish I could make to pay tribute to the music that made me. It's a funny thing—I feel like if Inhaler had been around when my parents were in their 20s rather than while I am, I would have definitely grown up listening to them. If my parents could stop being such sticklers for the stuff they've listened to for the past 30-40 years, I know they would absolutely adore Inhaler.
If I was excited to see Inhaler live before this album, there's actually no words to describe how I'm feeling about seeing them now. We are now exiting the "I liked them before it was cool" phase. My advice: hop on and enjoy the ride! It'll be worth it, I promise.
Cuts & Bruises is available to stream on all the usual platforms! Give it a listen. You won't regret it.