The Canyon - The Used
Artist: The Used
Album: The Canyon
Release date: October 27 2017
Review by Tomina Vincent
The Used are a band often associated with the emo scene emergence of the 2000’s, but they have not only outlasted many of their fellow acts in the genre, they also evolved many times over seven studio albums. What has always been very striking about this band is their ability to pull heart strings and create a genuine emotional relationship with their fans and a deeply personal response. Their upcoming release The Canyon is bold, unapologetically real, and one of the most refreshing rock records of 2017.
The Canyon has been described as an album about the duality of the human experience – the happy-sad, dark-light; the search for meaning and the memories of growing up. In many ways, the themes explored here are universal and also relevant to those fans who grew up with The Used and are now in their 30’s, asking the big questions. Opening track 'For You' is a brutal, but beautiful love letter to a friend and a heart-wrenching goodbye. Starting out as a spoken word piece, Bert McCracken’s vocal delivery is astoundingly real and beautifully thoughtful in its dynamics. The record speeds up instantly with 'Cold War Telescreen' – it’s a funky number with a lo-fi feel that is somehow quite different for The Used, and ever-present throughout the album. The departure of founding member, guitarist Quinn Allman in 2015, pushed the band into a new direction which caused somewhat of a divide among their fans, but The Canyon exudes nothing but confidence and truth.
The album continues to toy with a brand of alt rock that is catchy and feels very DIY. 'Broken Windows' has a big singalong chorus and earworm melodies, while 'Rise Up Lights' is a nod to the band’s 2007 epic, Lies to The Liars. As well as retaining their signature open-heart-surgery lyrics about the everyday, the band also explores new territory and every song is somehow surprising. 'Funeral Post' is one of the standout tracks, featuring perhaps the catchiest chorus. The Used have always had this great sense of melodic direction, and I guarantee this one will stick with you. Another thing The Used are really good at is ballads, as showcased here in the stunning string-heavy 'Moon-Dream'. Single 'Over And Over' again must have been an obvious choice for the band – a great representation of the record as a whole: fun, positively charged and 100% genuine and true to self. 'The Nexus' and 'About You (No Songs Left to Sing)' are both heavy, dark and groovy, followed by epic closer 'The Mouth Of The Canyon', which showcases a completely new vibe for the band with its sparse construction - a refreshing and well placed exit.
In conclusion, The Canyon is destined to be divisive, much like The Used themselves have been throughout their career. This record is a testament to resilience, artistic maturity and complete fearlessness. If you have been a fan of this band from the beginning, you will find the honesty you fell in love with present in this record. If you have never heard The Used before, you will fall in love just the same.
9 out of 10.
The Canyon is out October 27 via Hopeless Records.