It seems like a long time since emo hit the mainstream charts in an explosion of angst, eyeliner and buzzing power-pop-rock choruses. It certainly must do at Warners anyway, as the label dumped The Used after their disappointing fourth album Artwork failed to hold its head up against the incoming waves of dubstep.
Given this cosmic kick up the arse, the band have come back swinging with their most spirited, anthem-stuffed album since 2002’s self-titled debut, as the distinctly My Chemical Romance-flavoured opener I Come Alive sees ever-unhinged frontman Bert McCracken spitting fiery defiance (‘I come alive when I’m falling down’) over tumbling, chaotic, theatrical emo riffage.
Choruses are relentlessly catchy, the pace is mainly breathless, and while ballads like Getting Over You are toe-curlingly over-ripe, Vulnerable finds The Used sounding anything but.
It seems they’re at their best when the music industry is against them.