Post-hardcore veterans Senses Fail seem like they’ve been on the brink for the best part of ten years. Since the release of their breakthrough record ‘Still Searching’ in 2006, the band have been through countless line-up changes and various musical directions, with frontman Buddy Nielsen being the only constant.
Many fans have longed for the days when Senses Fail gave every teenager wearing skinny jeans saw them as a form of escapism. Unfortunately, that’s not what we have with their seventh record ‘If There Is Light, It Will Find You’, but it’s a good start.
As soon as opener and lead single ‘Double Cross’ starts, you might as well be transported back to Senses Fail at their most prominent during the mid-00s. It’s the embodiment of everything that made the band a staple for every angst-ridden teenager. Drums being hit hard, guitars been played loudly, Nielsen‘s imperfect vocals, cathartic lyrics, and a melody that you can’t help but sing along to. Lyrically, the track is an ode to the band that Nielsen has grown up trying to make work, and with him being the only surviving member, he’s testament to that.
‘New Jersey Makes, The World Takes’ sounds like a heavy All Time Low track, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s shameless pop-rock at its most unglamorous, with lyrics such as “I’m not giving up today / No-oh-oh-oh.” It’s more radio-friendly than they’ve been before, but it works and is a lot of fun.
Although a lot of notice will be on the musical direction taken on this record, lyrically there are a few genuinely stand out moments that bring relatively tentative tracks to life. ‘Gold Jacket, Green Jacket…’ touches on subjects such as mental health, religion, and the fear people have on following their dreams and passions. It’s certainly relatable.
This is no ‘Still Searching’, but it’s a lot better than anything that the band have released since; lyrically poignant and cathartic, and musically it’s a lot of fun. There are lulls and weak moments – take note of the lacklustre ‘Elevator To The Gallows’ and the downright boring ‘Is It Gonna Be The Year?’. Still, this is an almost complete return to form for a band that people thought were long gone.