Never a dull moment then, but a little consistency would go a long way for The Used.
“Liar, liar, pants on fire,” shrieks The Used frontman Bert McCracken. This brief moment of silliness explains why, for all its commercial success, emo still struggles to meet with critical approval outside of its cabal of fervent supporters. There’s something a little naïve, a little hammy and a little overbearing about all this shouty hyperventilating and power-chord theatrics.
The Used are far from the worst offenders however. Their mix of hardcore riffs and classic heavy rock sentiment on ‘Pretty Handsome Awkward’, ‘Wake The Dead’ and ‘Earthquake’ creates some memorable moments of head-tossing, air-guitar shredding potency. Indeed, when restricted to a spare template of monstrous chords and slick pop/rock composition, The Used deliver some dazzling tunes.
Sadly the urge to go beyond this basic formula proves too much, and we are often back into high-wire caterwauling and overblown show-pony mode. McCracken’s timbre, when unrestrained, tries to wring every syllable of its emotional value, and the listener is left weary of all this ersatz melancholy and menace. The aforementioned ‘Liar Lair (Burn In Hell)’ is a repeat offender in this regard, as is the trying ballad ‘Find A Way’.
This skittish mood-swinging gives Lies For The Liars a helter-skelter quality: there are moments of inspiration pitched beside frustrating flights of fancy, and often this will occur during the same song. Never a dull moment then, but a little consistency would go a long way for The Used.