The problem with The Used has always been that they have appeared as an also-ran band. With Bert’s relationship with Kelly Osbourne and his friendship with Gerard Way, he was always the guy just tagging along behind, the ADHD younger brother screaming to be noticed. This changed a lot with last album ‘Lies For The Liars’, where the band really began to find themselves and cemented a complete work that was both excellent musically and more importantly, not following trends or hanging onto anyone’s coat-tails.
Now with ‘Artwork’ (amazing cover, terrible title), it all seems to have clicked together and The Used find themselves no longer propping up the third stage in festival hell and instead springing out fighting with one of the best metal albums of the year so far. No ‘special friends’ or scandal necessary.
The album races out of the traps with the already familiar ‘Blood On My Hands’ (storming single, dark video) and already there are hooks a plenty and a colossal chorus. ‘Empty With You’ begins like a lost track from ‘Who’s Next’ and bounces along following the refrain “I haven’t lost anything except my mind”, surely the stencil on every Emo kid’s bag for next term…(Not a criticism, The Used’s lyrics this time round are not afraid to be open and add a humanity to the raucous sound that they accompany)
The highlight is the beautiful balladry of ‘Kissing You Goodbye’ (sensibly retitled from the too obvious media-baiting of ‘Cut Yourself’), it’s got Stadium Rock written all over it and lyrics which don’t so much touch a nerve as slam them against the wall bloody and broken. Wow.
Other highlights include ‘Watered Down’ with it’s storming drum track and ‘Meant To Die’ which sounds ready for bigger mosh pits than the band has ever been used to before.
Basically The Used are finally ready for the big time, but is the big time ready for The Used? On this evidence, we’d say they soon will be.