18th April 2021
The last year has hit the music industry especially hard, and has made recording and promoting much more difficult, particularly for smaller artists. One upcoming band which has managed to keep its fans engaged, though, is Dublin-based indie group Inhaler. Made up of school friends-turned-bandmates Elijah Hewson (vocals), Robert Keating (bass), Josh Jenkinson (guitar) and Ryan McMahon (drums), the band have released three singles over the last 12 months, the most recent being the summery sound of Cheer Up Baby.
With frontman Elijah Hewson being the son of U2’s Bono, it could be easy to assume the band have only been successful due to Hewson’s famous family connections. However, listening to their new single, it is clear to see that Inhaler have built their fanbase on their own merit, as they deliver their latest offering of shimmering guitar and synth-based pop.
The song has a joyful and uplifting sound, though doesn’t hold the same depth or individuality to me as some of the band’s previous efforts, such as 2020’s We Have To Move On. However, it doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t; as far as fairly simple, feel good indie-pop goes, it’s a triumph.
The track begins with a dreamy guitar riff alongside Hewson’s sweet, melodic vocals, with lyrics touching on issues of mental health. Hewson described the song as “a love letter to all our fans who are feeling isolated” in an interview to NME, which resonates particularly strongly given the circumstances of the last 12 months. The verse gradually builds up to an anthemic, sing-along chorus, reminiscent of early Sundara Karma songs such as Loveblood. Already a live favourite, the song does feel like it was written to be performed to a crowd; its bright, sunny sound makes me imagine fans dancing along at a festival, belting out the words with a beer in hand.
While not a particularly original or ground-breaking sound, Cheer Up Baby is a fun, summery track, which would feel perfect to blast in the garden while sat out on a hot day. Despite not being their strongest single to date, the melodic vocals and gentle synths are in keeping with previous releases, suggesting Inhaler have rounded out their style; it holds promise for what we can expect to hear more of on their upcoming debut album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, due for release in July on Polydor Records.
Image credit: NME