For all those invested in the dynamic post-hardcore scene, New Jersey outfit Senses Fail have been a household name since 2002. Despite numerous line-up changes, near break-ups and personal trauma, the now three-piece are back with a seventh LP, If There is a Light, It Will Find You: a raw, vulnerable and wholeheartedly genuine effort that may just be their magnum opus.
Opening on bass-heavy, Blink 182-influenced ‘Double Cross’, the direction of this record isn’t immediately obvious, the track sounding more like an ode to the formative glory days than an amalgamation of sixteen years of growth and change. However, things soon pick up on passionately emotional ‘Elevator to the Gallows’, combining a masterful riff with the tale of painful personal loss to concoct a new-age emo anthem just two songs in.
The record’s lead single, ‘Gold Jacket, Green Jacket, Who Gives A Shit’, is a politically-charged criticism of the way modern life is run. “Fuck the Government / It’s an embarrassment / We’re all going to die in debt,” vocalist James “Buddy” Nielsen cries on this record highlight, adding his piece to the surge of political outcry from the across rock scene in recent years. It’s a scathing, near-desperate lament of the struggles of belonging to the millennial generation – as topical as it is brilliant.
If ‘Gold Jacket…’ is about a shared burden, then ‘First Breath, Last Breath’ is about an agonisingly personal one. Lyrically tackling the misery of grieving and difficulty of newly single parenthood, Nielsen writes with such emotive prosody, you don’t have to understand his pain to be swept up in the feeling.
Gone are the days of spitting bitter metaphors into a moshing whirlpool of rage; Senses Fail are no longer teenagers in their Warped Tour heyday. Instead of fading into nothing or trying desperately to cling to the past, they have matured, and aren’t afraid to be as honest and true to themselves as they can be – If There is a Light, It Will Find You is a record not to be underestimated. It is an emotional, diary-like journey through hell, proving Senses Fail to be one of the most true-to-the-cause, genuine bands around.