Back with a kaleidoscopic bang, The Used have arrived with their eighth studio album Heartwork. This American band formed in Orem, Utah in 2001 have a long-standing reputation for some memorable rock songs. With the release of new singles Cathedral Bell and Paradise Lost, a poem by John Milton, the band have created the potential for more future iconic punk rock anthems. Bert McCracken, the vocalist and front man, bassist Jeph Howard, drummer Dan Whitesides and guitarist Joey Bradford have composed a modern and unique version of their music style, combining electronic, pop, punk, hard rock and screamo.
Inspired by one of McCracken’s favourite writers, Paradise Lost, a poem by John Milton is the first track that has powerful imagery, tying the rest of the album together perfectly. Vulnerable, punchy, honest and exciting, The Used worked on this album with today’s audiences in mind. They cater to an ever-changing music scene with pop and dance vibes, while still managing to poignantly incorporate their classic punk rock riffs and Whitesides smashing drum beats.
If some new hardcore punk rock songs from this iconic band are what you’re craving, then tracks 2 and 14 are just for you. Blow Me feat. Jason Aalon Butler and The Lottery give us a beautiful dose of heavy rock and screamo vocals. The Lottery’s disturbing and complex lyrics are shown through erratic changes in McCracken’s vocals throughout the song. His talented vocal ranges are complemented by emotive instrumentals.
Heartwork, the title track, serves as an intriguing and contemplative narration of contrasting words to spawn a new life for the next part of the album. The Lighthouse is the next track, with a feel-good sense of hope and light-hearted pop rock vibes. Clean Cut Heals and 1984 (Infinite Jest) have sonic and electric undertones. These alternative rock tracks serve as unlikely chaotic dance tunes, combined with McCracken’s strikingly raw melodies.
The Used surprise listeners once more, through the addition of a choir groups magical voices in tracks Darkness Bleeds, FOTF and Gravity’s Rainbow. The choir singing melodies in the background hold a powerful and attentive sound in Gravity’s Rainbow, making this multi-layered track very intriguing and sonically enjoyable to listen to. Drum beats and orchestral sounds and rhythms are colourful reflecting the track’s title.
Heartwork encompasses The Used’s electric energy that originally shaped the alternative rock scene almost twenty years ago and won the hearts of fans all over the world. The album caters to every mood and is released on April 24th by Big Noise. The Used have explored different sonic textures and weaved a variety of unlikely sounds into this lively album. To Feel Something is the last song to a musical trip that you don’t want to end, exploding and instrumentally connecting to the first track… You realise this once you begin listening to the album all over again, like a welcome addiction.
Album Review By Zara Zampaglione