- 31 Aug 19
The (Family) Business
I look like me auld lad. Actually, I'm better looking as I have some of my Ma's DNA in the mix too, and she's a saint. A saint! There's no way around it, watching Inhaler do their thing, it's difficult to ignore the fact that Elijah Hewson is the spit out of his Da's mouth, although he's better looking, because his Ma is very presentable. After their walk on music of Pink Floyd's 'Breathe', Hewson appears with leather jacket, Elvis Presley guitar strap, and a cross around his neck. He makes a fist, he puts his hand in the air during first song - it could be called 'In My Head' - and introduces his mate thusly "on guitar, Mr... Josh... Jenkinson!" We could be back watching the War tour in 1983. The thing is, they sound great, and hold on, before you spit and throw your phone out the window and curse Hot Press for its lack of critical acumen, let me tell you that I was as cynical as you the first time I saw them. That wasn't long ago, and they were far from great. This is a different band altogether.
He didn't just inherit the face, he's as natural a front man as the Pater in the wraparounds as well, and he's not the only bloke in the band either. By song two - is it called 'Groove On'? I dunno - bands, if you don't have an album out, what can I do? - the drummer is beating the skins like a red-headed step child who just broke the best china. The song pleasingly breaks down to an electronic tick-tock. The third song - 'Set It On You'? - has that big eighties keyboard sound because it is the decade that apparently we will never be allowed to escape. New single 'Ice-Cream Sundae' is a likeable pop treat which owes a bit to The Academic in sound - very high praise. The keyboards threaten to smother it here and there but it sticks in the head like a bad idea. A surprise for us auld lads then, a rocked up cover of The Cure's 'A Forest'. They make a bloody good fist of it too.
The anthems keep coming. They all break down in the right places and Hewson turns out to be a better guitar player than the auld fella ever was. I'm standing there, bopping away, when an old mate grabs my arm.
"They're good, aren't they?"
"They are, but he's the spit..."
"Never mind that, look around you, a lot of these kids weren't there the first time."
That's an excellent point. An awful lot of this crowd - and it's a big crowd too - are just enjoying a very good rock n' roll band. They're not weighed down by memory. The last song - Hewson gets them clapping, the hands are in the air again, "are you fucking READY?" - makes clever use of a "1-2-3-4-5! refrain and the bass player, a cool looking cove with a lot of rings and mirror shades, is down at the barrier, almost in to the crowd. Everyone's moving and at the song's denouement (thank you), the band receive a more than justified roar of approval. There's no shame in joining the family business if you can actually do the business. Leave all cynicism at the door. Inhaler, against all the odds, are the real thing.