National MusicReviews

Album Review: ‘If There Is Light…’ by Senses Fail

Everyone from Buddy to the fan base has learned if you look hard enough, there is a light and it's going to find you.

senses fail if theres a light it will find you

I picture myself in seventh grade back in 2006 when my cousin told me he played ‘Buried a Lie’ on guitar in his school talent show and introduced me to the emo juggernaut in Let It Enfold You. I see myself as that introverted high school Freshman that had the confidence of dying shrubbery with ‘Map the Streets’ on replay through my head. I wondered if I would ever find a place I fit and people I trusted, or if I would live through darkness and pain, but it’s all just temporary. Today, years have gone by and I’m living to see it all again.

I want to abandon most comparisons of earlier discography from Senses Fail and say this LP is different. Yes, it is special in a sense that it does bring nostalgic elements of sound. It revives what fans of Let It Enfold You and Still Searching have been yearning for, for a long damn time. Senses Fail has been reinventing themselves with each release of the past decade. Likely they lost some fans along the way while going through lineup changes, but the one thing the group never forgot was their abilities to grow and progress. That drove the energy put behind If There Is Light, It Will Find You… and the feeling of realness comes coursing back.

Buddy Nielsen has never been the world’s best vocalist and would not come close in their genre while crossing generations, but he emits passion that no one can match. You typically hear Buddy wailing and screaming about topics within depression, addiction, and his sexuality.

In ‘First Breath, Last Breath’, he lets you hear his experience of his wife nearly dying giving birth to their first child. “Remember they said you’d have to sacrifice I know/But I was not prepared to watch the life drain from your soul/I have never felt so crushed, the sadness buried in my bones/How the hell am I supposed to raise a daughter on my own”. In a slower ‘Shaking Hands’ he states heavy lines, “Love can make you weak/It can steal the bones from underneath your feet/If all the world is just a stage then you must be the blood that’s in my veins”. This creates the feeling of floating or being in love, while the world is a private showcase and there’s someone out there meant for you.

In ‘Gold Jacket, Green Jacket’, he curates lyrics for a tune that newly induced fans and existing fans alike can enjoy. The lyrics relate to living in today’s America. The chorus rings in, “So take a pill to make you smile/And go buy shit you don’t need/Cause don’t you know that Jesus Christ loves America?/That’s why we’re always winning/And don’t forget to lock your door/And board up the window panes/Cause you got to defend yourself/From anyone who doesn’t think the same”. The chorus covers everything in a discussion that seems to be on the minds of people in the United States. A healthcare system and the pharmaceutical industry that does not necessarily look out for the welfare of people, or capitalistic mindset that drives us to want more and more. With this driving force, the band feels like one again. The youthfulness is ever so present, but at the same time, impalpable. The alliance once missing from the absence of the original guitarists seems to be back. The original drummer Dan Trapp performed drums on the album, bringing nostalgia for some. Even though Dan will not be touring with the band, it has recently been announced that Steve Carey of The Color Morale (now on hiatus) will be joining as the new drummer. What is most notable is that the band certainly has established a median where they can perform songs in different structure/tempo. Loose such as in “You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense” or tight in “Orlando and a Miscarriage” and “New Jersey Makes, The World Takes”. Producer Beau Burchell (Guitarist of Saosin) likely contributed to the reemergence of that sound everyone was familiar growing up with.

Senses Fail not only just put out one of the strongest pop-punk/emo releases to be remembered for the rest of 2018, but it arguably could be the best of their existence.


Excellent – 4.2/5


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