Album Reviews

The Used – The Used

UK release date: 18 November 2002

The Used - The Used My good friend Jo had been elbowing me about a four-piece called The Used some time ago. For the record, Jo is a friend with a nose for good music. But when he deliberated on a Utah quartet being a “cool post hardcore/emo” band, it was not quite enough to excite me to pay immediate attention.

Several months on and it’s The Used features galore. Every magazine I pick up, every website I visit is awash with The Used. Each time I came across them and nonchalantly flipped the page, the more I came across them.

Hell, I thought – just read it. It turns out that The Used frontman Bert McCracken dates Kelly Osbourne. And he’s a self-confessed former meth addict in a band which has been lopped into the “One of America’s hottest Acts” category. For those who are prone to musical apathy, hence not being clued up to such news as The Used (myself included), eyebrows beg to be raised.

Or do they? One listen to their eponymous debut brings close encounters of the Incubus / Lostprophets kind, largely due to McCracken’s similar sounding vocals. Numbers such as Taste Of Ink and the single Buried Myself Alive hail from the Linkin Park school of mosh-themic angst, while A Box Full Of Objects showcases a radio friendly clash of melodic hardcore, a la Glassjaw.

This is where the disappointment lies with Used. McCracken’s honest lyrics (drawing on confronting addiction on Bulimic, and heartbreak on Greener With The Scenery) are betrayed by the lack of musical originality. But it is well arranged and crisply produced, with some tight layers of samples, overdubs and strings.

They will be assured status at least by the floor-filling pull of their album – not to mention McCracken’s relationship with Ms Osbourne. Perhaps they’ll be on the Ozzfest tour this year.

Classing Used in a genre would perhaps be the easy thing to do, so I’ll leave it to the band’s own web biography – “palpable in a spray of crashing rhythms, sublime melodies, candid lyrics, dynamic vocals and, natch, big guitars.”

The jury’s out on that one. One can’t help thinking it’s a palpable formula which has been used one too many times before.

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