Armed with only riff ideas and a healthy dose of skepticism, rock act the Used entered the studio earlier this year to create its highly anticipated sophomore release.

Armed with only riff ideas and a healthy dose of skepticism, rock act the Used entered the studio earlier this year to create its highly anticipated sophomore release.

"I think it's good to push yourself," singer Bert McCracken tells Billboard.com. "Especially that kind of driving stress kind of makes me want to do things a lot better. Kind of like when your dad is watching you mow the lawn and you are kind of like, 'Oh crap. Going out of the lines again.' But now that it's finished, I'm so confident and so much more proud than I ever have [been] about anything that I've created."

Due Sept. 28 via Reprise, "In Love and Death" features 12 tracks that vary from shout-along anthems similar to those found on the band's platinum self-titled 2002 debut, to more playful material. While two tracks -- lead single "Take It Away" and "Listening" -- are getting stage time during the band's set on the Projekt Revolution tour, McCracken can't wait until the Used's fall headlining tour, to really present the new material in its proper light.

"There are so many songs that I am looking forward to playing, and there are a lot of different feels," says McCracken. "There is a song on our record called 'Lunacy Fringe' that is all brushes on the drums and a stand-up bass. We're going to get another little mini-kit and kind of pull out some acoustic kind of things and try to get a little bit of a different feel during our set. It kind of reminds me of [the Cure's] 'Lovecats' meets [Soft Cell's] 'Tainted Love' a little bit. It's awesome."

Creative but not experimental is how McCracken characterizes the new album, which find the band furthering its songwriting without alienating its fanbase.

"This is definitely still the Used. But I think that we went a lot of different places that I never thought we would go for sure, with a lot brighter tones and a lot of dance-y rhythms and just kind of sadistic and almost dirty as far as lyrical content," says McCracken. "So, whether or not people want to buy it or just grab it off a computer, I think everyone should hear it."