Pre Release Review - In Your Absence by Senses Fail

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Photo Credit: Senses Fail Facebook Senses Fail constantly changes.  Their members change, their style changes and their next release, In Your Absence, will be a stark contrast from the last release, Pull the Thorns from Your Heart. The acoustic EP comes out March 3rd on Pure Noise Records and will be accompanied by a month long, 15-year anniversary tour. Three up and coming acts, Counterparts, Movements and Like Pacific, will accompany Senses Fail on what should be a great set of shows. On the tour, Senses Fail will play their 2006 album, Still Searching, in full.  Still Searching features a couple of Senses Fail’s most popular songs, such as “Can’t Be Saved” and “Calling All Cars”, and the band’s willingness to play this whole album may suggest In Your Absence will stylistically resemble the 2000’s emo band that Senses Fail was.  However, the two singles released so far, “Lost and Found” and “Jets to Perú”, prove otherwise.

Both singles are similar.  They have a standard form, the instrumentation revolves around acoustic guitar riffs and acoustic strumming.  They also have lyrics possibly revolving around a relationship with the same woman. “Jets to Perú” is an upbeat song that speaks of being in love while “Lost and Found” is the sad counterpart that talks of the loneliness felt once it was over.  While the lyrics of these songs fit the punk style, the instrumental style does not.

The two singles sound more like pop-alt songs that the emo/hardcore that Senses Fail have embodied throughout their existence.  Senses Fail experiments with electronic instruments on this record. While it does not overwhelm, it creates a new sound that does not associate itself to the former sounds of Senses Fail.  Midi-drums may work for nothing,nowhere, but not for Senses Fail.  There have always been bands that start in the scene then transform into pop-alt bands, but after 15 years spent mostly on the heavier side of alternative music, this move is risky.  Additionally, frontman Buddy Nielsen, the only original member still left in the band, has criticized bands such as All Time Low and Boys Like Girls for their inauthenticity.  While pop-alt could be the style that Senses Fail has evolved into, it seems more likely this move is intended to attract new fans and therefore more money for the band.

To recap: In Your Absence will likely be a pop-alt EP in terms of style, but the 15 year anniversary tour will be comprised of many emo songs.  Maybe this is a best a both worlds situation.  While I personally have always appreciated Senses Fail’s emo and hardcore styles, some new fans seem to appreciate Senses Fail’s more recent, softer, songs.  New fans will continue to discover Senses Fail and may associate them with their new sound, while old fans can relive the glory days in the mosh pits of Senses Fail’s tour this spring.  Time changes all, but at least we have the memories.  Cheers to the band that introduced me to the scene and good luck in your next chapter.

What We ThinkJack Braniff