Utah rockers, The Used are gearing up to take the music scene by storm once again with the release of their sixth studio album, Imaginary Enemy. Formed in 2001, the four piece exploded onto the scene with their songs ‘The Bird and the Worm’ and ‘All That I’ve Got’ earning them the top spot in the height of the emo years. Now, over a decade later, The Used divert away from their characteristic anarchic music and transform their sound to produce a polished and coherent album.

From the outset, it is apparent the band have taken influence from electronic music. Opening with ‘Revolution’, electronic drumbeats and backing tracks showcase the new direction of the band. However, don’t fear as the electronic element does not displace the hard-hitting melodies that The Used have become known for.

Lead single ‘Cry’ provides one of the highlights of the album and once again is peppered with electronic influences. A sense of vulnerability lingers throughout the vocals of Bert McCracken, the softer, melodic vocals showcasing the talent present in the vocalist which crescendos into a voice that emits a sense of confidence throughout the final chorus.

Imaginary Enemy encapsulated influences from a range of sounds from across the musical spectrum, from the poppy, top-tapping chorus of ‘A Song To Stifle Imperial Progression’ which is sandwiched between verses of McCraken’s distorted vocals or the jazz-infused, bopping rhythms of the title track.

However, The Used are a rock band and they certainly don’t forget their roots, rather build upon what they have already established. McCracken’s throaty vocals provide the spine to the songs, incorporating a certain edge to a record with many genre influences as heard in the previously mentioned, ‘A Song To Stifle Imperial Progression.’ Opening with rambling distorted guitars over the yelling of McCracken, it is performed with life-affirming intensity climaxing towards a paint-stripping chorus.

Imaginary Enemy touches on every corner of the music spectrum yet still retains the characteristic sound of The Used, developing upon this sound and crafting one of their most cohesive and diverse albums yet.

Niamh Moore

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