Album Review: ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ by Inhaler

Omar Aftab, Reporter

Inhaler’s debut album, “It Won’t Always Be Like This,” shows a promising start for the Dublin-based indie band. Fronted by Elijah Hewson, the son of U2’s Bono, the band has a sound that teeters between traditional indie rock and pop, as listeners are treated to  Inhaler exploring their own sound. The album has 11 tracks, three music videos, and runs for around 45 minutes.

The album has a grand start in the anthemic “It Won’t Always Be Like This.” This song is Inhaler at its best. The lyrics have all the dramatism of a young man coming to terms with growing up, with Hewson singing like he’s the protagonist of a sad slice-of-life story. The uplifting, atmospheric electric guitars and energetic synths keep the song balanced, making it a perfect opener for the album. The music video is artsy and makes for a great visual accompaniment to the song, and we see the beginning of a common theme in the rest of the music videos: black and white and color. The vast majority of the video is in black and white with a unique editing style, and the splashes of color throughout make it come alive.

The second song in the album, “My Honest Face,” keeps the energy going, taking a turn deeper into the dramatic energy of the first song while getting more self-reflective. Hewson’s vocals are very much a strong point of the song, communicating sympathy and knowing he’s in the wrong, but not sounding altogether sorry for his actions, instead of excusing them with the lyrics “I didn’t want to hurt you, but there’s just a certain culture when you’re young.” The percussive bangs throughout the song also add to the overall ambiance and give it an aggressive edge.

From a purely instrumental aspect, the third song, “Slide Out The Window,” is one of the best on the album. The catchy riffs, atmospheric synths, and guitars with heavy pedal effects truly bring out the band enjoying themselves. Halfway through, listeners experience a shift from happiness to chaos. The song closes with a return to calm and a reintroduction of the chorus.

“Cheer Up Baby,” the next song with a music video, is by far one of the most fun songs on the album. Here,  the band is going for a more playful, mainstream indie sound rather than the deep, atmospheric sound pursued throughout the album. Still aggressive and energetic, the song draws less angst from listeners than others in the album. The music video once again plays heavily with colors, this time literally. Mostly a band performance in a white room, members all mostly wear black. In the second verse, they introduce paint; random strokes at first before covering the room and themselves in messy splashes of it. Seeing as this is the sole single of the album, it’s unsurprisingly the catchiest song. I would recommend anyone, regardless of their music taste, to check it out.

The next three songs are the worst songs of the album and show the weakest point of the band: their lyrics. The instrumentals aren’t enough to save the weak and sometimes outright cringy words of the songs. It’s a disappointment especially with “A Night On The Floor,” because the funky instrumental of the song was cool, but the lyrics try to sound too clever while conveying almost nothing at all. “My King Will Be Kind” isn’t as bad, but it has the band leaning too hard into the dramatic aspect of their sound. The balance they’d struck earlier in the album isn’t there. “When It Breaks” is the final music video of the album and the weakest of the three. The band uses a red theme and features some unique editing, but doesn’t come to life the same way the other two videos do. Similarly, the lyrics are weak, though the actual music is strong, emotive, and carries the song.

“Who’s Your Money On (Plastic House)”, the eighth song on the album, is a return to the band being at its best. The music surrounds you, takes listeners through both lows and highs, and has a loud, aggressive, bass that stands out in the track. The “Plastic House” part of the song has a fantastic ending. Most importantly, the lyrics are back to normal. “Totally,” the ninth track, is similar to “It Won’t Always Be Like This.” On the calmer side, it keeps a similar vibe, letting listeners know the album is soon coming to an end.

“Strange Time To Be Alive” is a short breather before the final song. At only one minute and five seconds, there isn’t much to say. It’s dreamy, calm, and feels like both a thank you and goodbye from Inhaler before going in for a hard finish.

The 11th and final track, “In My Sleep,” is aggressive, chaotic, and one of the angriest songs on the album. It’s what “When It Breaks” should have been. It lets listeners know that there’s more to come from Inhaler, making for a great ending. 

“It Won’t Always Be Like This” is a great debut album, and Inhaler shows off their skills in creating energetic, atmospheric, and, at times, aggressive songs. With modern indie often leaning towards a more chill, laid-back sound, this is definitely refreshing. No album is perfect, and this one is no exception, but it’s worth checking out.

Favorite Tracks:

  • It Won’t Always Be Like This
  • Slide Out The Window
  • Cheer Up Baby
  • Who’s Your Money On (Plastic House)
  • Totally, In My Sleep


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