Senses Fail is one of those rare bands from the early 2000s Emo/Post-Hardcore explosion who remained a mainstay, consistently putting out solid releases and exploring new sounds. Now, the band are back with their seventh full-length album that sees Vocalist Buddy Nielsen at his most vulnerable. In fact, If There Is Light, It Will Find You just might be the band’s best release to date. Dropping Friday February 16, 2018 via Pure Noise Records, those fans who may have dropped off ten or so years ago will find plenty to love as Senses Fail make an excellent return to their sonic roots.
Sure, this new record sounds a lot like Senses Fail’s breakout records. 2004’s Let It Enfold You and 2006’s Still Searching, but to make a direct comparison would be doing If There Is Light, It Will Find You a grievous disservice. This new record has sixteen years of a challenging life lived behind it, and while nostalgia runs deep through its core, Nielsen’s raw, powerful lyrics explore difficult personal and topical themes, proving Senses Fail are just as relevant now as they always were. Nielsen pours his beating heart into these twelve tracks in a way that he has never done before, and this creates an emotional experience
With a return to more melodic music and clean vocals, the band has stepped away from the gritty aggression that defined their previous two records. With opener “Double Cross,” the band immediately gives listeners a taste of that classic sound as Nielsen looks back on his early days in the band while also keeping his eyes on the present as he still searches for “a reason to believe.” Driven by catchy guitar riffs and upbeat drums, this track kicks of the album with purpose and acts as the first page in the story Senses Fail is trying to tell.
Another standout, “Gold Jacket, Green Jacket” was among the first tracks released to fans, and it immediately became a favorite. That is no surprise, as this track is a millennial anthem anyone who grew up listening to the band will gravitate toward. Similarly, “Stay What You Are,” easily one of the album’s standout tracks, explores the challenges of getting older while your heart yearns to remain in the pit during your favorite band. Fair warning, this is one is guaranteed to be stuck in your head for days.
While those tracks are more upbeat with a nostalgic lean, there are tracks that deal with the pain of living in the present. “Is It Gonna Be The Year” sees Nielsen struggling to survive through an exhausting life of touring, while “First Breath, Last Breath,” “Orlando and a Miscarriage,” and “Shaking Hands” tackle difficult subjects having to live after losing a loved one and dealing with the aftermath of tragedy. These songs see Nielsen at his most vulnerable, and sonically they are a callback that reminds you why you loved this band in the first place.
Let It Enfold You and Still Searching are great records that deserve to be celebrated, and if saying If There Is Light, It Will Find You shares elements with these albums gets lapsed listeners to give this album a spin, then maybe the comparison serves a greater purpose. Like any Senses Fail record, this album is a cohesive piece that takes its listener on an emotionally exhausting journey, but those raw, bloody lyrics are what solidifies If There Is Light, It Will Find You as an essential record for this band. IT is a solid reminder of why Senses Fail has remained a staple while others flickered out—they have a way of grabbing you and refusing to let go. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives If There Is Light, It Will Find You 4 out of 5 stars.