Music Reviews
It Won’t Always Be Like This

Inhaler It Won’t Always Be Like This

(Polydor Records) Rating - 6/10

Let's get the elephant out of the room first: Inhaler frontman Elijah Hewson is the son of U2’s Bono. And though that little tidbit will deter many listeners off the bat, it really shouldn't become a factor in determining whether or not the Dublin foursome are any good. Besides, if you're of a certain age (between the ages of 35 to 44), you'd be surprised to learn how many of your favorite rising artists share a connection with established musicians—both indie or mainstream.

That said, Inhaler are certainly in the business of serving up optimistic anthems rather than quick-witted post-punk with light touches of cynicism. As they demonstrate on the lush title track and Cheer Up Baby, the band’s debut album combines dynamic rhythmic energy with soaring romantic touches and youthful melodrama. And you know what, they're pretty darn good at it. Guitarist Josh Jenkinson’s clean, ringing guitar tones glide beside drummer Ryan McMahon’s nimble drum work—and he doesn’t need to fill in copious amounts of fuzz and delay to make them sound more distinctive.

The arrangements here are brisk and straight ahead, and all the better for it. Even if, at times, they do follow their influences to a fault. Because when they resort to Boy-era U2 posturing like on Who’s Your Money On? and My Honest Face, the band seemed poised to mimic an approach that worked for Bono and his cohorts 40 years ago. They occasionally step out of their comfort zone on the funk-driven A Night On the Floor, on which they add in some dub accents to spice up the song’s steady groove. But those moments are few and far between, as, for the most part, they keep their songs snappy and melodic.

Inhaler have plenty of time to study their musical forebearers, and it shows. Though Hewson may have skipped a lesson or two on keeping the lyrics just as earnest as their music, as his resorting to calling a woman he hates a “bitch” on the Oasis-like My King Will Be Kind feels misplaced considering they’re not either edgy or dangerous. Despite these missteps, It Won't Always Be Like This is a competent first effort with superbly crafted and unpretentious songs—even if they still haven't quite found the sound that they’re looking for.