The Used “The Ocean Of The Sky” EP Review

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There are few bands out there today that have successfully reached “legend” status in the alternative music scene, but The Used might be nearing that coveted title. The Used is a band whose coolness and musical talent seems to extend beyond all space and time, and with five full-length studio albums and a slew of hit singles already under their belts, they have grown from generic pseudo emo-punk boys to post-hardcore, alternative rock idols. With the release of their newest EP, The Ocean Of The Sky, The Used once again makes it clear why they continue to remain alternative rock dynamos.

The EP opens with “Iddy Biddy”, which hits you square in the face with a very classic, rock ‘n’ roll style intro. The song explodes into a familiar fun and emphatic alternative rock song, which The Used is known for producing, full of youthful energy and extreme catchiness. “Quixotica” continues much of the same energy with heavy guitar and catchy hooks. The drums on “Quixotica” are truly the high point though, wonderfully powerful and face-melting throughout.  Things are slowed down with the almost ballad-like song, “Thought Criminal”. The track is bursting with fresh lyrics and mellifluous vocals, oozing with sentimentality designed to muster up a few tears. “The Ocean Of The Sky”, the title track off the EP, is another mellower jam, showcasing the band’s lyrical talents and lead vocalist, Bert McCracken’s, eccentric style to the fullest. The song ends with a variety of interesting, atmospheric noises and McCracken reading an excerpt from the book, Dune. This hauntingly beautiful yet unconventional track sounds like it could fit perfectly on the sound tracking to some sci-fi, action film, lick Chronicles of Riddick or Resident Evil. Speaking of movies and soundtracks, according to The Used guitarist Quinn Allman’s wife, Megan, the final track, “Tethys”, is actually intended to be an instrumental soundtrack for the cult classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. I highly recommend playing this in a darkened room or with one’s eyes closed, because then it really hits the listener with this wonderfully trippy, almost out-of-body feeling. The song clocks in at nearly 20 minutes, and it is composed of a wide range of ambient noises and interesting mixes.  Listening to “Tethys” is a truly indescribable experience, as the music takes you on a full journey into an alternate realm of sound and imagery.

The Used never seem to disappoint, and each new album release is a full feast of musical greatness. The Ocean Of The Sky EP falls right in line with their past work, and yet it is a completely unique listening experience, with seemingly dramatic moments of instrumental brilliance. The EP doesn’t seem to fit into a single genre, which makes it all the more special. If this is a taste of what is to come on a full length album, there’s no doubt in my mind that it will reach #1 on the alternative music charts. Simply genre defying, incredibly well produced music, The Used are a true force of nature.

-Lauren L.

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