Senses Fail has been a part of our lives ever since their 2006 track ‘Can’t Be Saved’ appeared on Guitar Hero 3. Since then, we’ve all discovered their 2004 release of Let It Enfold You and 2006’s Still Searching which both appeared in the Billboard Top 100 and reached a combined 700,000 copies in their first months of release. There’s been many more releases since though, including 2008’s Life Is Not A Waiting Room although the hype surrounding their most recent release of If There Is A Light has brought Senses Fail to the forefront of this year’s releases. Could it be that former drummer Dan Trapp would be returning to the studio, or that it had been three years since their previous release and they are now signed to Pure Noise Records? The band has been through a mixture of changes, although their touring has never ceased to keep up with the fans.
If There Is A Light had garnered massive interest, with album artwork announced and Senses Fail active on Twitter and the like to keep their fans in the mix. Entering the studio with Saosin in June 2017, Nielson said that the EP would feature a style much like Let It Enfold You. And while it does have that kick and excitement that their earlier releases have, its much, much lighter. Senses Fail fear no controversy, with mention of politics and raw emotion, which is what made them the band we’ve come to love today. ‘Double Cross,’ was the first track to be released from the album, and it hit like a bomb. It got everyone excited, and really brought out the nostalgic sound reminiscent of their earlier material.
As a whole, If There Is A Light is almost a new beginning for the New Jersey band as they revert to the music that gained them the love but with a more, established and mature sound. Nielson’s vocals are for an acquired taste – they aren’t outstanding but they’re full of passion, bringing a depth to the music that’s unreachable through just lyrics. Nielsen has had his fair share of experiences that he incorporates into the new album, specifically ‘First Breath, Last Breath’ where he sheds some light on his wife’s near death experience last year as she was giving birth to their daughter.
“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”
‘Green Jacket, Gold Jacket…’ is light-hearted in sound, and probably one of the most stand-out tracks on the album in the way it sticks to you. The song resembles the millennial, experiencing life in America the way it has turned out to be. It’s politically driven, concentrating on the elements that affect the 20-something generation including a brief mention of the attacks of 9/11 in 2001. It’s got the whole package, anti-depressants, capitalism, religion and the divide in modern culture. It’s a song that talks about a lot of this generations issues, which seemingly go by unspoken of.
Lyrically and vocally, Senses Fail still have that real edge, but their refined music style is what gains the most attention. Of course, comparatively towards earlier releases, If There Is A Light is a lot lighter compared to its predecessors. There’s still a lot of energy, although the chemistry goes much further this time. As mentioned earlier, the band seem to have found a more established and mature sound fitting into that 2000-esque punkish emo that really surged in the early days. The album is diverse yet it still has the iconic Senses Fail feel to it. They bring out a brighter side to themselves, and it’s like a message that every one can find happiness despite the crap life throws us. Senses Fail have always had a plethora of talent for the way that they write; how relatable they are in their music and the sheer imagination they have to deliver their music in the way that they do.