Inhaler Proves They Are a Band to Watch Out For With Second Album, Cuts & Bruises

Tasnia Khandaker, Music Review Editor

Critic Rating: 8/10


Almost a year after Dublin based band, Inhaler, released their debut album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, there came word of another new album. Fans were obviously excited, but it certainly felt quick; would Inhaler be able to uphold the high expectations placed on them after their stunning debut album? Would they set themselves apart or become a generic indie rock band? Well, their second studio album, Cuts & Bruises, proves that Inhaler is a band to keep your eyes on. 


The band had been teasing the album for much of 2022, releasing 3 singles that had borrowed the sounds from their debut, but also showed a growth and maturity in their sound. Much of the band’s year had been spent touring, with artists such as Sam Fender, Harry Styles, and Arctic Monkeys, definitely giving them the opportunity to explore different styles of music and take inspiration from the artists they toured with. 


“Just To Keep You Satisfied”


The first track of the album, “Just To Keep You Satisfied” follows a creative and clever theme, with upbeat indie rock instrumentals that are perfect for the summertime. Since this is the first track in the album, Inhaler cleverly follows the theme of “firsts” in this track. The track sets a scene with the lyrics, “It was early in the morning,/ The first day of the week,” signaling a new beginning. Elijah Hewson’s vocals can be heard throughout the song, but the instrumentals are really what shine in this song. This track immediately gave me high expectations for the rest of the album. From the clever lyrics to the sunny indie rock instrumentals, “Just To Keep You Satisfied” is a track that starts the album off with a bang. 


“Love Will Get You There”


“Love Will Get You There” is the second track off of Cuts & Bruises, and it was also the second single that was released from the album. This track is filled with hopeful lyrics and upbeat instrumentals. While the instrumentals were the star of the last track, Inhaler brings back the strong vocals from Elijah Hewson that fans know and love, while also bringing light to the impressive instrumentals performed by Robert Keating, Josh Jenkinson, and Ryan McMahon. This track held on to the band’s roots, but it also presented something new and exciting. The lighthearted music video further supports the optimistic and upbeat sound of the song, continuing the positive start of the album. 


“So Far So Good”


The third track on the album, “So Far So Good,” starts off with a mellow indie-rock sound. However, the lyrics, following the topic of simply trying to get some space from someone,  don’t seem to match the more laidback sound of the track,. The chorus is a welcome surprise, with a sudden switch up from the lowkey vocals to stronger vocals and instrumentals. Inhaler continues with this switch in sound throughout the song, which manages to sound extremely cohesive throughout the chaos. “So Far So Good” is a perfect example of the band trying new things. Although it wasn’t one of my favorite tracks, it was definitely one I found myself revisiting. 


“These Are The Days”


“These Are The Days” was the first single released from the album; this track left fans intrigued and in need of the album. This song had a sound reminiscent of a track you would find in their debut album, It Won’t Always Be Like This. Yet, it felt like a sign of change. “These Are The Days” starts off with beautiful bass lines and guitar, soon followed by the upbeat drums. This track’s upbeat sound is followed by lyrics that encourage the listener to live in the present and appreciate life as it is. Hewson sings, “I think we’re gonna be okay” in the bridge, giving a hopeful and positive outlook to the listener. “These Are The Days” provided a perfect transition between Inhaler’s albums, and it is one of my favorite Inhaler tracks. 


“If You’re Gonna Break My Heart” 


Inhaler takes a sharp turn in sound with “If You’re Gonna Break My Heart.” This track is a significantly slower ballad, taking inspiration from American artists such as Bob Dylan, The Band, and Bruce Springsteen. Heartbreak, hurt, and regret—the band successfully communicates these feelings through vocals, lyrics, and instrumentals. Not only is this song presenting a different sound from Inhaler, but it also introduces new elements that were not very common in past tracks, such as the strikingly obvious piano throughout the track. While it’s a new sound, Inhaler executes it extremely well. Listening to this track only made me hope there would be more of this sound throughout the rest of the album. 


“Perfect Storm”


“Perfect Storm” carries on the slower, moodier sound introduced in “If You’re Gonna Break My Heart,” but strays away from the American rock ballad sound. Immediately, the lyricism within the track draws you in. Hewson paints a scene in the listener’s head, and he communicates the regret and longing behind the song. Throughout the track, the instrumentals start to progress and speed up, perfectly matching the other elements of this track. Something that makes “Perfect Storm” stand out is the complexity and attention to detail put into the track, but somehow, Inhaler manages to turn it into a cohesive and beautiful masterpiece. From the first listen, I was already able to tell that “Perfect Storm” would come to be my favorite track from Cuts & Bruises and one of my favorite Inhaler songs. 


“Dublin in Ecstacy” 


“Dublin in Ecstasy” is one of the oldest tracks on the album. According to drummer, Ryan McMahon, this track would be played during their early concerts and fans had always loved this song. It’s immediately understandable why this track is so loved by Inhaler fans. “Dublin in Ecstasy” is an ode to the band’s teenage years and is filled with nostalgia as they look back on a song written during that time. The main standout in this track was the stunning guitar solo. Josh Jenkinson always impresses fans with the guitar in all of Inhaler’s tracks, but this track definitely shows off his talents. “Dublin in Ecstasy” is also among my favorite tracks in Cuts & Bruises, and after countless listens, it’s easy to understand why so many fans love hearing this song live. 


“When I Have Her On My Mind”


The eighth track on the album, this track is very reminiscent of 90’s indie rock. However,  Inhaler manages to pull off this style very well. Throughout the past few years, we have seen a rise of music inspired by the 90’s music scene, but it’s very rare to find music that doesn’t sound cheesy or inaccurate. Inhaler manages to capture this style of music with modern elements without sounding cheesy or like they had tried too hard. The intro of the track immediately draws you in with the stunning guitar, and it continues to impress with the strong chorus and background vocals laced throughout the song. Nostalgia, a recurring theme throughout the album, is also present in “When I Have Her On My Mind.” The band perfectly encapsulates the emotions intended with the lyrics, instrumentals, and the overall vibe of the song. Although this track took some time to grow on me, I found myself going back to this track many times. “When I Have Her On My Mind” presents a very different sound, which I appreciate and hope to see in future Inhaler tracks.




“Valentine,” a track written on Valentine’s Day, is guitar heavy. As many can tell from the track’s title, “Valentine” is a love song, where Hewson repeats “Be My Valentine” with catchy guitar riffs. The song is yet another example of Inhaler succeeding with slower songs with meaningful lyrics. The listener is able to hear Hewson’s vocal abilities in this track, while also focusing on the various elements of the instrumentals. Overall, I enjoyed this track very much. I find myself very drawn to tracks such as “Valentine” by Inhaler because it’s executed very well. As the end of the album draws to a close, I hope to hear tracks with a similar vibe with the remaining tracks.  


“The Things I Do”


As soon as the track starts, you are hit with something completely new and different. “The Things I Do” felt like the most experimental and unique song on this record because of how different it is. Martin Slattery, who played for the band Black Grapes, performs the piano on the track, further setting the song apart from the rest of Cuts & Bruises. While I cannot say this track was a favorite, I appreciated the experimental aspects of “The Things I Do” and the breath of fresh air it provides. 


“Now You Got Me”


The final track on Cuts & Bruises, “Now You Got Me” was the perfect ending to this album. Immediately, you are hit with a strong bass performed by Robert Keating, which leads into Jenkinson’s stunning guitar riffs. The instrumentals slow down as the first verse starts, but the rock instrumentals are quickly brought back in the chorus, where Hewson repeats, “Now you got me where you want me.” Every part of this track felt extremely cohesive, from the stunning instrumentals to the powerful vocals. Overall, Inhaler was able to truly show their talents with this track and create an ending to the album that just leaves the listener craving more. Although I did not have high expectations for this track because of the previous track, “The Things I Do,” Inhaler quickly redeemed themselves with this stunning track. “Now You Got Me” is a track I’ve been revisiting since I listened to the album, and I truly think this track is one of the best on the album. 


Cuts & Bruises was a remarkable listening experience. Inhaler manages to show musical growth, while also holding onto their roots. Fans were able to see many different sides of the band within this eleven track album, even though I do wish we were able to see more experimentation within this album. While you could hear growth and maturity within their music, as well as the inspiration they take from other artists, Inhaler does not experiment with their music as much as I had hoped they would in Cuts & Bruises. However, with the band already starting to mature their sound and take inspiration from different artists, Inhaler could potentially experiment more and take risks with their music, which is something I look forward to. Aside from the lack of experimentation I had hoped to hear, I believe this album was a beautifully composed album. From the lively instrumentals, to the lyricism in all the tracks, Inhaler has managed to cement their place in the music scene.