Review Summary: The Used come correct incorporating news aspects and instruments to their sound, in turn creating a consistent and variety filled record.
I’ve always thought The Used had a lot of potential that they weren’t always taking advantage of. Admittedly that is quite an odd thing to say about a band who has encountered great mainstream success, is signed to a major label, and who practically has a cult following. But seriously, it seemed like every time I picked up an old record of the band I would check out maybe four songs and move onto something else. As far as I’m concerned, the group has failed to put together a complete record with their own touch on it. After listening to a few songs streaming from this they I was sold that things were going to change with their third full length. In the end, I was quite satisfied with my purchase as Lies For The Liars
is a well crafted pop punk record at times laced with dark undertones, showing a new and more matured side to the group.
As vague and cheesy as it may sound, there is a definite dark undertone to parts of this record. Then again, just starring at the cover art certainly gives the impression that this will not be an ideal sunny summer day soundtrack. Lead single “The Bird and the Worm”
continues to lock in that theme opening with a string section which would suit a Danny Elfman score. Things quickly explode into an electric verse and an even more epic chorus complete with violins in the background. Transitions from the tranquil string sections to the fiery electric ones are done phenomenally, showing the group’s progression and improvement. In terms of representing an album, the single is an excellent choice. Ambiance is once again experimented with in “Wake The Dead”
as the faint sound effects really add a creepy feel into the introduction. Very quickly things explode into a fist pumping, chanting chorus giving drums the opportunity to dish out some mean rolls. Halfway through the song a softer acoustic section seems to be a light shining through the clouds as it completely changes the feel of the song. They bring violins in once again as well as a female guest vocalist, both of which really create a unique feel. The Used have figured out how to successfully link very diverse sounding sections into one song and make them work fluently.
When the group ditches the sound effects and overdramatics (bad joke) they still can maintain their dark undertone. While certainly not as prevalent, they still keep the theme alive in certain situations. Second track “Pretty Handsome Awkward”
is without question a more straightforward rock song with a gimmick free beat and pace. The guitar plays a very interesting melody throughout the chorus and the outro but Bert steals the show in specific sections. His lower growls and obscure lines such as “You bleed just like you puke”
definitely give off a vibe as does the whispered bridge. “Paralyzed”
opens with a slow yet jumpy feeling passage and exercises bouncy bass line throughout the verse. Things begin to seem focused around the chorus as it is certainly entertaining, “Paralyzed by the same old antics/back and forth like some walking spastic/how could a fistfight ever be romantic"”
The track ends on an extended and modified chorus with the repetition and slight switch ups working together terrifically. It shows just how much the group has tuned up their song writing.
Thankfully, not every track on the record gives out a gloomy vibe. If anything, some tracks do the exact opposite. The opener “The Ripper”
is a great example as it creates energy with its fast progressions, solid tempo changes, and a powerful, screamed bridge. While not staying at a rapid pace throughout, the liveliness is always apparent as is the expected catchiness factor. A later track “Hospital”
sounds quite reminiscent of some Black Parade tracks. Its strongly focused rhythm guitar part certainly puts out that vibe. Regardless, the track ends up very enjoyable thanks to its solid composition and entertaining chorus, “Before I cross my heart and hope to die at all/take off my mask and leave the lies to the liars/before I close my eyes I’m gonna give it up/ take off my mask and leave the lies to the liars.”
After a chant section over another chorus things end with a fury of drum fills. It is not difficult imagining the group closing a live set with this track. However, the actual record ends with the ballad “Smoother Me”
once more showing variety. It features Bert on the piano laying down some soothing vocal patterns. Once more strings make a pleasant impression here, as there is a brief instrumental break before drums come in for the second verse. The song does pick up but things thankfully never go for the ultra intense and cheesy, super emotional ending. Once more their maturity is shown as they end the record in strong fashion and do so showing off some variety.
There is a lot to rave about for The Used and their third full length studio effort. It certainly shows off a decent range of songs in turns of sounds and themes. String sections are incorporated extremely strongly into a handful on songs and really add a great deal to them. However, the record does not fully rely on the use of them in order to serve up enjoyment. The more straightforward tracks feature enhanced composition and maturity making them a satisfying listen. Despite large portions of the record featuring dark undertones, the theme never becomes overbearing as the tracks are placed accurately throughout. Lies For The Liars
is a record which just seems to get better with every listen as it is consistent throughout, full of variety, and just screams improvement. The Used clearly switched some aspects of their music up and these adjustments along with natural growth have guided them to craft the best record of their career.
Final Rating: 4/5