Sound — 10
The sound on this album is amazing. It uses very high-energy guitar and drums in songs such as Take It Away, one of the more rockish songs on the album. On other songs, such as Yesterday's Feelings, it uses lots of acoustics and electronics to great a certain feeling. Bert stretches his vocal range, and proves he can do some amazing things. He has certainly improved since their self titled debut and so has his health. Also, the album, as described by the band, is made to feel as if there's a constant ticking in the background (even literal in the opening to Let It Bleed), and that you don't know until it's too late whether it was a clock or a time bomb. Also, the album uses very unique way of making the songs flow together perfectly, through certain transitions, (such as carnival music and crazy screaming at the end of All That I've Got and beginning of Cut Up Angels). The background is something to keep track of in this album, because sometimes you can hear Bert harmonizing with himself, or screaming at himself. Sound Effects and Overdramatics features guest vocals (or I should say screams) from Sean Ingram, of Coalesce. It's easy to figure out which screams are his and which are Bert's, because of the vast difference in style, and I think it's good to embrace such differences. One of my favorite songs on the album, The Lunacy Fringe, has a full string orchestra. Think Lovecats, and you'll know the feeling, but it has the uniqueness that surpasses the now-cliche 'old jazz' song. The sound is very unique, and is considerably different from their first album, with a different feeling. (Distinctly noticed when listneing to the old album after the new.)
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics in some songs seem very typical, and trite, such as All That I've Got. But in songs such as I'm A Fake, Light With A Sharpened, and I Caught Fire feature great lyrics, a lot of (I'm assuming here), Bert's longstanding battle with drugs, which he has finally overcome. The lyrics on this album are much darker, and not as blunt as the old album's. (For reference, check out Say Days Ago, probably his bluntest song about drugs) The lyrics in some cases seem to be flexible, but in others, there is very noticeable similarities.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall Impression is great. This cd is amazing, and the Used is a very inspirational band for me. I didn't expect it to be this great, and I love every minute of it. Bert, Quinn, Jeph, and Branden are all highly skilled musicians (especially since Quinn does all guitar on the album). My least favorite song on the album would have to be either All That I've Got, mainly for his singing in the verses, or Hard To Say. I would definantly buy this album again if I lost it.