Lies for the Liars
One listen to Lies for the Liars and any fan of the Used might wonder whether the Utah foursome had added a DJ to their lineup. To see them in concert without a turntable or computer might surprise listeners, mainly because with their third studio album, the Used has traded some of their raw and untampered sound for a more produced and polished filter. Producer John Feldmann deserves his own set of “thanks you”s in the band's album sleeve after the much involved role he played in the creation of this disc.
Just as former friends/now enemies My Chemical Romance broke into the mainstream pop world, it seems that the Used is attempting to format their music into a more produced and rock radio-ready sound. Right out the gate, the Used shock the listener with their new musical direction: “The Ripper” is dripping with synthesized goodies and vocal scratching as is “Hospital” which sounds in some places like a dance remix to a track off of their self-titled debut.
“Pretty Handsome Awkward” could very well be the Used's ticket to stardom. It includes a catchy (yet still brutal) hook that will undoubtedly be worn to death by modern rock stations, if the band is so wise as to release it as a single.
However, it must be stated that Bert McCracken and the gang haven't turned into the next Linkin Park. They still have the sharpened edge that got them notoriety in the first place. First single “The Bird and the Worm” is an excellent track that beats the bloodied passion of past Used records into their new heavily produced heart. With strings that sound taken directly from Danny Elfman's soundtrack to the next Tim Burton movie and metaphorical lyrics that are some of the finest being played over hard rock airwaves, the Used show genuine progress with their sound.
Often overlooked in place of their harder songs, the Used have (as with each of their subsequent records) a collection of very heartfelt acoustic numbers that could be easily considered some of the best tracks on the album; “Find A Way” especially, where Bert's above average vocals shine brighter than they ever have before.
However, the award for best song goes to “Wake the Dead”, where the Used channel My Chemical Romance channeling Pink Floyd for an incredibly well-done and breathtaking track that features a bridge that is easily comparable to Floyd's “The Great Gig in the Sky”.
Now, just because the songs that are name-dropped in this review are praised for their originiality and freshness, it isn't safe to say that this album is at all flawless. While none of the tracks are bad (except for maybe the overtly bratty “Liar Liar (Burn In Hell)”), there is a lack of cohesion that definitely makes itself apparent throughout the disc. What's funny is that even with the heavy budget paid to production, the album still feels slightly unfinished. In an attempt to develop their sound, the Used seem to have lost ahold of who they are. Hopefully by their next disc, the quartet will be able to grow as a band without becoming too generically commercial.
Release date: May 22, 2007
Label: Reprise Records
Rating: 7.0 / 10
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