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Album Reviews

Album Review: The Used – Heartwork

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Release Date: 24/04/2020

Record Label: Big Noise / Hassle Records

For Fans Of: Silverstein, Story of The Year, Underoath

The Used are back with their 8th full-length studio album, Heartwork, and after two decades as a band it is an album that oozes class. Producer John Feldman claims this is a “career-defining album” and it is hard to disagree when listening as Heartwork feels so fresh and relevant. If you’re a fan of Jason Aalon Butler, Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker or Caleb Shomo then you’re going to want to check out this release as all of the above feature throughout. Heartwork sees The Used continue to lead the way in the alternative rock scene with their blend of emotion, rawness and pulsating energy levels.

Heartwork doesn’t play in the background as much as it explodes out of the speakers, frantic and unforgiving, but underpinned with the trademark moving and gut-wrenching lyrical content of The Used. Tracks like ‘Paradise Lost’ ‘Obvious Blasé’ and ‘Blow Me’ are examples of this, with the latter barely stopping to even catch its breath for the entire duration, but they’re also anthems and damn good ones at that.

The Used are equally comfortable with slowing things down on a track as much as they are whipping up a storm, with songs such as the beautiful ‘To Feel Something’, ‘My Cocoon’ and ‘Wow, I Hate This Song’ displaying a gentler nature to the Utah four-piece. You’d be mistaken if you assumed Heartwork followed the age-old format of albums consisting of fast-paced rock anthems and a couple of heart-breaking tunes. This release is bursting at the seams with a variety of musical influences and genres, providing an insight into how The Used have stayed at the top of their game for such a long time. ‘Darkness Bleeds’ is made up of a beat that wouldn’t look out of place on a drum and bass record, ‘Heartwork’ is bubbling under the surface with techno vibes, and ‘Clean Cut Heals’ could be about to make it big on the dance circuit in Ibiza this Summer. ‘The Lighthouse’ with Mark Hoppus sounds like a 5SOS single but… it really works. The Used are pushing musical boundaries and doing so with a convincing arrogance that a band of their stature and ability carry off with ease.

Heartwork is a truly remarkable album from The Used and is evidence of just how much this band still has to give to not only the alternative rock scene, but to music in general. This album is rich with influences, inspiration and innovation. The whole record feels modern and current while simultaneously sticking to what has got The Used to where they are now. Heartwork is anthemic, poetic, and the perfect distraction for this pandemic.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Track: The Lighthouse (feat. Mark Hoppus)

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