The Used are one of those bands that will always bring back a certain time to anyone who spent their youth singing along to ‘The Taste Of Ink’, or scribbling their famous ’emo heart’ in their exercise books at school. In recent times, despite their steady output of material, they have slowly faded into the background, taking a back seat to the giants of the genre and the new school. With their road buddies, My Chemical Romance, recently deciding to call it a day, maybe it’s time for The Used to step out of this shadow and take back the popularity that they lost to the fresh faced punks and their peers.
‘The Ocean Of The Sky’ starts off on the darker note of ‘Iddy Biddy’, later material always saw The Used move this way and the band seem to have made their camp here rather than moving back towards the poppier elements of earlier material. There are still glimpses of the classic band in tracks such as ‘Thought Criminal’, but they’re mainly over-shadowed by the ambitious ideas of later tracks that never really reach fruition.
Musically, the EP isn’t particularly amazing either. I suppose the band and their genre never really were in hindsight, it was more the feelings that they conveyed and how welcoming the subject matter of the songs were to peoples’ emotions that saw their success. Bert McCracken‘s vocals also seem to have lost their charm in later years. They now grate and the melodies they follow are weak and, even at the choruses, they never really allow for that great singalong moment you so wish to hear.
‘The Ocean Of The Sky’ strangely starts its final decent on the noisy outro of the title-track and the electronic ambience of ‘Tethys’. I can understand the interest in doing something different after being categorised as a certain band for so many years, but I can’t imagine anyone sitting through that ear splitting outro again in order to listen to the overly average finale.
It all just seems to have gotten a little dated, I’m not even sure classic fans would find anything in this record, let alone finding a new market. Sadly, The Used will still have to resort to adding those classic songs into their set list, as the shadow they have been cast in for so many years by their peers only gets darker as the times continue to change.
Written by Shaun Cole