Just over a decade ago, the world was exposed to a genre we hadn’t heard before. A genre that sounded familiar to us alt kids, full to the brim with elements of post-hardcore and punk but with heartfelt and honest lyrical content. That genre was Emo. It rocketed into the public eye on a large scale in the early 2000’s, bringing with it a ton of bands and many questionable fashion choices. I was definitely one of those kids that made some of those fashion choices, opting for a fringe that took up most of my face as well as fingerless gloves and the occasional spot of eyeliner. Bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Hawthorne Heights paved the way for a generation of bands to follow, but sadly a large majority of the original Emo bands have ceased to be. That is not the case for scene veterans Senses Fail. Starting out way back in 2001, they started to pick up momentum with their first full length Let It Enfold You, an album I consider to be an important part of the Emo timeline. Since then they’ve become a musical chameleon of sorts, adapting and changing with every album. Their last two albums Renacer and Pull The Thorns From Your Heart were far heavier and angrier than the early material, but still managed to sound like the same band had written them. Their newest album, however, sees them coming full circle and going back to their roots. That album is called If There Is Light, It Will Find You, and I’ve checked it out. Only this time round I’m bald, I’ve lost my fingerless gloves and I’m all out of eyeliner.
Tracks like Double Cross and New Jersey Makes, The World Takes sound like they could have been B-sides to their earlier records. Both tracks are oozing the screamo vibe we all fell in love with a decade ago, only sounding more polished and full than they did. The chorus in the latter is infectious; if you aren’t singing the melody by the the second chorus you definitely will by the time it reaches the third. Is It Gonna Be The Year? is full of brutally honest lyrics and powerful delivery from vocalist Buddy Nielsen, who sings and screams his way through 4 minutes of hook laden gold (featuring a really tasteful guitar solo). Orlando And A Miscarriage is one of the more punk influenced tracks, immediately bursting into fast paced drums and frantic riffs before gently and cleverly flowing into a slightly slower but just as catchy motif. Title track If There Is Light, It Will Find You is a 6 minute epic that slowly weaves in and out of calm, heartfelt verses before eventually exploding into an enormous chorus. The ending section is tastefully and cleverly written too, with emotion pouring out of every single note right up until the final chord fades out. Shaking Hands acts as a breather on the album from some of the more full on songs, but is the song that stood out to me most on this record. It’s packed with feel and emotion both musically and lyrically, I couldn’t help being drawn in by it. The delivery is second to none, overflowing with passion as you can hear Buddy’s voice shaking in certain sections of the verses. When that kind of emotion can be translated through music it transcends being something you simply listen to; it becomes almost therapeutic. I think that’s why I fell in love with the genre in the first place, because of that connection. I felt that connection again on this record, and it was an absolute pleasure to experience.
The album is an enormous nostalgia trip, yet still manages to sound fresh and new. Despite the numerous line up changes they’ve had over the years (frontman Buddy Nielsen is the only surviving original member), they’ve managed to hold on to their identity. They still sound like that same band I fell in love with in high school. They’ve revisited their roots in a big way, but haven’t made it sound like a dated record. There’s a few sections that feel a little rushed, or in some cases almost like they don’t belong, but you know what? It’s a minor issue. The album as a whole is solid. It’s honest. It’s fun. And, more importantly, this is going to do wonders for the Emo revival that seems to be happening at the minute. I can feel my fringe growing back already.