The Used - 'Artwork' (Warner Bros) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Sunday, 30 August 2009 22:55


1theusedI have to be honest here - The Used were a band that caused only a minor blip on my musical radar screen. They were, generally, promoted as being a band that people of my age would not understand or appreciate......


......that was until they released 'Lies For The Liars' in 2007, an album that refused to be restricted to the lazy labelling of fashionable music rags. The album transcended genres as the band, quite simply, released an essential rock album.


'Artwork', gorgeously produced and meticulously considered, may lack the immediacy of its predecessor but, unlike far too many other bands who struggle to follow up a great album, this is intentional. 'Artwork' is darker, more sombre and already destined to be considered the band's finest hour.


Bert McCracken - greasy, balding but blessed with a distinct voice - leads the dark carnival into town with opener 'Blood On My Hands', an anthemic anti-hero of a song. 'Born To Quit' picks at the scab of a classic rock riff, while 'Watered Down' somehow manages to be both melancholy and uplifting. 'On The Cross' is the kind of song that Madina Lake would crucify their grandparents to possess in their back catalogue.


Whilst some tracks break bones, you always expect The Used to produce something that will break hearts. 'Kissing You Goodbye' may be a more straight forward heartbreaker than 'Earthquake' from 'Lies For The Liars', but I still expect it to cause more tears than a truckload of peeled onions. The song is reprised on album closer 'Men Are All The Same', a downward spiral of a song that somehow mutates into darkness on a grand scale.....


.....and darkness is a place where this album seems comfortable. The inclusion of the infamous "Kill Whitey" speech by Khalid Abdul Muhammad, spokesperson for the Nation Of Islam, is a disturbing eye-opener.


If 'Artwork' was a vampire movie it would be 'Near Dark' - downbeat and dirty yet intelligent and, ultimately, cooler than thou. Fellow film geeks will be aware of a 'Near Dark' re-release packaged in awful 'Twilight' style cover art. Imagine a tween being conned into thinking that they are going to like the content, only to find that what they are discovering is difficult, edgy, maverick in attitude. Just like The Used, shoved into pigeonholes when they should stand alone.