Singer-songwriter Brad Yoder showcases his smile-even-when-you're-down folk pop on his third long-player. While the Pittsburgh-native's music has little edge to it, it is probably effective in winning over listeners in the circuit of coffeehouses he frequents. Used
in and of itself is evidence of Yoder's fan base, as the album was financed in part through loans from admirers (the loan agreement is even online at Yoder's web site).
Yoder's songs have a made-for-the-WB quality about them, reinforced by lyrics that tend toward the mundane ("I wrote this song for you / now you've forgotten it / except for the funky riff"). His true strengths are a spot-on sense of melody and superlative arrangement skills. For example, the warm and gentle double bass on "James Bond" is a true pleasure. The strings on "Underground", one of the record's finest numbers, adds subtle color to the uncharacteristically guitar-heavy number. Yoder's falsetto on "Little War", another standout track, is reminiscent of some of Jon Brion's shining moments. But Yoder is much more indebted to classic singer-songwriters of the '70s such as James Taylor. Fans of that genre and other coffeehouse fare will be glad to hear Used.