Review Summary: “Remember when life was endless wonder… it still is.”
The Vans Warped Tour is closing up this year embarking on its final cross country tour. After years of pushing numerous groups to stardom, fans and critics pay their respects at Warped Tour’s statewide. As the final lineup left fans underwhelmed, it’s safe to say there are a few bands worthy of a spot on the go-home tour. After all, it’s hard to find a group as passionate and open as Senses Fail. “While you’re watching from the window waiting/I’ve been spilling my guts out on the stage,” blares Buddy Nielson’s youthful nasally voice as a climbing riff charges in the background. Listening to If There Is Light, It Will Find You
takes you back to the 2000’s as it aims to reinvigorate the old school emo formula. It’s easy to label If There Is Light
as one of 2018’s better releases. It comes with a giant helping of heart to carry its message to the surface.
"What am I supposed to do when I become more connected to people, but eventually I’m going to lose them",” asks Senses Fail. It’s a difficult question, but it serves as the mission statement to If There Is Light, It Will Find You
. The album reads more like a philosophy than an album at times. Even at its lowest, all listeners get is the same genuine sentiment they’ve shared over the years. The music may embody the entirety of Senses Fail’s older work, but it never sounds dated. ‘New Jersey Takes, The World Makes’ enters with a pick-slide into a bouncy riff. It instantly hooks the listener into the stop-start verse. "You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense" opens with a grating breakdown that churns its way through the song. Then there’s ‘Shaking Hands’ which slows the album down as it sets up the ending. There’s a lot of diversity featured to keep fans guessing. No songs sound the same or boring for that matter. The production is done as fans can expect. It’s typical Pure Noise style emo. The drum intro in ‘Is It Gonna Be the Year"’ gives that away. The intro reminds me a lot of Yellowcard for some reason.
If There Is Light
has very straightforward lyrics, but for the most part are executed well. The album trips over itself in numbers like ‘Gold Jacket, Green Jacket…’ and "You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense" where it goes on a rant about its subject matter. The lyrics are a bit ham-fisted with lines like, “I’m a millennial son of a bitch/I’d rather die poor than give in,” and, “I used to blame everyone else but me/Because I was so f***ed up.” It’s obviously a deeply personal album and can be forgiven in that context. If There Is Light, It Will Find You
experiences true loss in the songs ‘First Breath, Last Breath’ and ‘Orlando and a Miscarriage.’ The two songs detail the struggles Buddy Nielson and his wife faced during pregnancy. ‘First Breath, Last Breath’ details a mother’s death while giving birth. “Remember they said you'd have to sacrifice I know/But I was not prepared to watch the life drain from your soul,” says the tortured father, “How the f**k am I supposed to wake up every day/And pretend that I love her as much as I miss your face,” he says looking at his new born daughter. The pure agony of this song is a punch to the gut. That raw emotion is what really sells the album.
‘Orlando and a Miscarriage’ continues that theme and relays the miscarriage his wife suffered a few years ago. “I wish I could see your face, but life I guess had other plans/And maybe you'll be born again, for someone I never met,” sears the listener with a barrage of tense guitars and crashing drums. ‘Ancient Gods’ is a song that doesn’t get too much love. ‘Ancient Gods’ pushes the question mentioned earlier about how to connect with people in a finite world. ‘Gods’ seems better as the closing track than the half-way point. The music has a nice emotional tone to establish that sense of release the subject feels after learning how to reconnect with people, particularly their loved one. The songs handle the subject well and explore the deepest darkest tunnels of life and how light will find you regardless. Everything feels real and understanding of those struggles. Senses Fail have been there and know the way out.
“Remember when life was endless wonder… it still is,” says Buddy Nielson in response to ‘Double Cross.’ Light’s
youthful optimism infects the album with a great sense of positivity and self-awareness. Through all the heartbreak, If There Is Light, It Will Find You
keeps listeners engaged along the way. “If we don't lose someone who we would die for/How do we pick ourselves off the floor,” Nielson screams, “And face each day as if we're not dying alone/We've got to love ourselves, that's how we respect our dead,” as the self-titled track brings the album to a powerful close. The climactic ending leaves you speechless as to how as lost and hopeless the band seems, light can find you just the same. If There Is Light
is a triumphant album I highly recommend. It’s a throwback jam older alt-fans will appreciate more, but it’s one that is highly overlooked in today’s landscape. Through all the heartbreak, Light
manages to keep listeners engaged and motivated to keep moving. It’s easily one of my favorite 2018 releases and one I hope to hear live in a few months.
Orlando and a Miscarriage
First Breath, Last Breath
Elevator to the Gallows