The Canyon

The Canyon

by The Used

CD

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Overview

Drawing dichotomous inspiration from happy childhood memories and the devastation following a friend's suicide, the Used explore mortality and the big picture on The Canyon, their seventh and most ambitious effort to date. Produced by Ross Robinson, this double album is bloody, raw, and unflinchingly personal, its impact made more effective by an unpolished, live feel achieved by recording directly to tape. Taking new artistic steps, the Used incorporate elements from prog-leaning bands like At the Drive-In and Coheed and Cambria, as well as dramatic rock outfits like Muse and My Chemical Romance. Nirvana also looms over much of the album, with lyrical references to "Negative Creep," "All Apologies," "On a Plain," and "Molly's Lips" scattered amongst the melodic hardcore assaults. Frontman Bert McCracken (credited as the more adult Rob in the liner notes) remains a force, his throttled-ragdoll howls wild as ever. Over 17 tracks, his emotional bloodletting is pure catharsis, purging pain and angst in typically visceral fashion. However, whereas earlier Used anthems captured a particularly youthful energy, on The Canyon, they embrace adulthood with a relatable and matured focus on life, loss, and even parenthood. Exposed nerves are immediately jolted on the lush acoustic opener "For You," a vulnerable ode to McCracken's late friend. From there, it's a breathless journey that requires time and patience. On the first part of the album, highlights include the catchy "Broken Windows," the raucous "Rise Up Lights" (a play on "razorblades"), which finds McCracken nearly rattling right off the proverbial rails, and the rhythmic groover "The Divine Absence (This Is Water)," an open road epic with a jam session feel that allows the raw emotion to naturally carry the band into the sunset as disc one concludes. The next half opens with the scathing "Selfies in Aleppo," a blistering stomper that bleeds straight into the prog-core of "Moving the Mountains (Odysseus Surrenders)." Their newfound muscular riff-assault peaks on "The Nexus," a powerful epic backed by a full choir. The band makes the most obvious artistic risks over much of this section, with a brief rap on "The Quiet War" juxtaposed by the tender "Moon-Dream," which features a lush string quartet and vocals by McCracken's daughter. However, it's standout single "Over and Over Again" that provides the biggest surprise. The poppiest song they've recorded to date, it's unapologetically catchy and fun without diluting the band's brand. Like the overall album experience, it's a litmus test that actually pays off. The Canyon meanders and searches, demanding full attention that can be frustrating and emotionally exhausting. But by the time they close with the epic "The Mouth of the Canyon," it's ultimately quite rewarding. After descending into the titular pit of emotion, doubt, and pain, the Used claw their way out, emerging stronger and more confident. As McCracken triumphantly declares on "The Nexus," "I know we're all the used, but not defeated." For a band that has evolved from screamo to such thoughtful artistry, The Canyon is a stunning offering. ~ Neil Z. Yeung

Product Details

Release Date: 10/27/2017
Label: Hopeless Records
UPC: 0790692241828
catalogNumber: 2418
Rank: 21317

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Used   Primary Artist,Percussion,Choir, Chorus
Louis Price   Choir, Chorus
Michael Boddicker   Piano
Aleta Braxton   Choir, Chorus
Randy Crenshaw   Choir, Chorus
Monique Donnelly   Choir, Chorus
Gary Falcone   Choir, Chorus
Roger Freeland   Choir, Chorus
Clydene Jackson   Choir, Chorus
Carmen Twillie   Choir, Chorus
Oren Waters   Choir, Chorus
Danny Payne   Background Vocals
Dan Whitesides   Drums,Background Vocals,Group Member
Nicole Garcia   Violin
Ronnie Manaog   Percussion
Fletcher Sheridan   Choir, Chorus
Justin Shekoski   Synthesizer,Banjo,Guitar,Harmonica,Background Vocals,Group Member,Hammond B3
Stephen Amerson   Choir, Chorus
Charlene Huang   Violin
Hiro Goto   Viola
Missi Hale   Vocal Ensemble
Eric Bradley   Choir, Chorus
April Guthrie   Cello
Jeffrey Gunn   Choir, Chorus
Ann Sheridan   Choir, Chorus
Travis Pavur   Background Vocals
James Gilstrap   Choir, Chorus
Abdiel González   Choir, Chorus
Daniel A. Navarro   Choir, Chorus
Luke Edgemon   Vocal Ensemble
Jeph Howard   Bass,Background Vocals,Group Member
Evangeline Gunn   Choir, Chorus
Baraka Williams   Choir, Chorus
Holly Sedillos   Choir, Chorus
Edie Boddicker   Choir Conductor,Vocal Ensemble
Leyla Hoyle Guerrero   Choir, Chorus
Denise Carite   Choir, Chorus
Brittni Whitesides   Background Vocals
Cleo Rose McCracken   Vocals
Erin Balboa   Background Vocals
Farrah Whitesides   Percussion
Michael Balboa   Background Vocals
Rob McCracken   Synthesizer,Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Michael Boddicker   Synthesizer Producer
Ross Robinson   Producer
Zach Blackstone   Engineer
Used   Composer,Art Direction
Danny Payne   Drum Technician
Justin Shekoski   Programming,Cover Design,Piano Arrangement
John Lousteau   Engineer
Hiro Goto   String Arrangements
Travis Pavur   Engineer
Chad Keyes   Graphic Design
Edie Boddicker   Vocal Arrangements
Michael "Lightning" Balboa   Engineer

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