LP Review; Senses Fail: “If There Is Light, It Will Find You”

“Double Cross” starts with an instrumental interlude from the first downbeat of the work. This interlude is driven by the string section paired with steady beats in the percussion section to establish a quicker (but not frantic) groove at the very beginning of the album. The band allows this motive to stick with the audience for a bit before the characteristic vocals for the artist join the party. When the vocals enter, they sit in the middle of the vocalist’s register, and they do so while riding a nice vocal contour throughout the first verse as well as the first run of the chorus. As the audience approaches the chorus, it is heard that the band was going to provide an overly pleasing amount of material to the listeners, for their mixture of vocal timbre and lyrical content produces a memorable chorus that will likely stick in the minds of the audience. The band includes brief instrumental interludes before transitioning into new portions of the track, which is nice because it gives the audience a bit of textural relief. Throughout the second verse, the vocalist alludes to some of his more aggressive vocals here and there. This is strong for the artist, for before the band returns to the chorus they provide a verse that is led by screamed vocals paired with more aggressive tactics in the instrumental section to heighten this shift in mood. From here, the band moves back to the memorable chorus, which holds and pushes the bulk of the material for the end of the work. This was a fantastic first song for the album, for the band shows their audience both their clean and aggressive vocal styles while providing a catchy selection that will stick out among the pack.

“Elevator to the Gallows” starts with sequential hits that resonate through a hit-hat cymbal timbre before the entire instrumental ensemble joins in to provide a heightened introductory feature for the track. Through this small interlude, the instrumental section sets the pace for the track, and they do so by establishing a groove that drives throughout the entire work. When the vocals enter, the instrumentation backs off slightly to allow the vocals to shine; however, enough of the instrumentation remains to allow the groove to remain consistent. The vocals that are present throughout the first verse utilize the clean vocal-type while riding the natural contour of the vocalist’s range throughout his lyrical vocals. The band rides through their chorus of the work effortlessly before moving back to another verse. Similar to the first piece, the band includes a few moments of harsher vocals throughout the second verse before merging back to the clean strategy for the chorus of the work. Near the end of the work, the instrumental section drops slightly to allow the audience to hear the rapid pulse set by the percussion section before the entire ensemble joins together to produce a heightened instrumental moment. In this moment, the groove switches almost to a half-time feel as the lead vocals enter in with an edgier front to them. This shift in mood works well for the band, for it gives their audience a high sense of contrast, and it almost catches them off guard, but it does so in a way that’ll make them want more material from the band. The band moves back to the chorus after this small section, which is what leads the audience to the end of the selection.

“New Jersey Makes, The World Takes” starts with a parallel descending line in the string section that starts at a lower volume and grows as the timbre of the partials spread. This motive spins to a full instrumental interlude before the first verse of the track commences. When the vocals enter, the instrumental section provides repetitive hits that enhance what the vocalist is presenting throughout his vocal line. His vocals reign true to the other tracks, for they fall in the cleaner realm of his technique. When the band shifts to the chorus, it is heard that the band keeps the texture of the track simple. They do so by keeping the instrumental section in unison, rhythmically speaking, for the most part. This helps the vocalist to provide technical variety as he switches back and forth between the aggressive and clear vocal types. As the band moves towards the end of the work, it is heard that the instrumental section remains static with their groove that has been steady throughout with shifts in texture by adding and subtracting some voices to allow the vocals to shine brighter in some sections compared to others. The band ends the track with a small instrumental interlude that pulls from the string nuances used throughout the work.

 “Gold Jacket, Green Jacket…” starts with a percussion motive that focuses on hits on the rims of the instrument with heavy downbeats provided in a lower timbre. This motive evolves slowly, and will soon act as the foundation for the groove and the work as a whole. The string section joins the percussion section soon after providing small subdivisions of chords. As the tonal center of the piece sits with the audience, the vocalist enters in smoothly with lyrics that fall in the middle to lower range of his voice. As he moves throughout the first verse, it is heard that the instrumentation is minimal to allow the vocals to shine without straining. The instrumental material provided enhances the rhythmic nature of the vocal part. Once the band reaches the chorus, the full instrumental ensemble joins in to provide a heightened moment for the audience. The second verse falls back into the same mold as the first one, which leads the band back into an elaborate chorus that will juxtapose the verses nicely. Towards the middle of the track, the band includes a small instrumental feature that puts focus on the string section as they embellish the original groove that was set from the beginning of the selection. The groove settles down as the instrumentation drops before the vocalist enters to include a small third verse. From here, the band slowly grows in dynamics to build to one last run of the chorus.

“First Breath, Last Breath” starts with vocals from the very first second of the track. The instrumental section accompanies the lyrics from the beginning, and they do so by providing a steady repetition of consistent hits across the ensemble. This helps to keep the work pushing forward while giving the audience a steady pulse to hold on to. The first verse remains static across the entire band, and the lyrics only provide a small fluctuation, in terms of musical range. This works well for the artist, for everything else on the album up to this point has been over the top; thus, this gives their listeners something a tad more simple to attach to. When they move into the chorus of the work, the vocalist begins to expand his range while traveling to the upper and lower parts as well as staying present in the middle portion of his range. When the band returns to their verse format, the instrumentation remains the same, but the vocalist provides more moments of vocal variety, which will help to keep the audience intrigued. The end of the selection is approached with opposing forces of texture, which are driven by the isolation of instrumentation against the isolation of vocals. This effect is completely new to the work; thus, making it a strong ending for a relaxed track.

“Ancient Gods” starts with a simple guitar motive that amplifies a motion that mimics two steps forward and then one falling back, melodically speaking. This motive sits in isolation before the audience hears a strike from a cymbal timbre, which is followed by the inclusion of the entire percussion section. In this moment, the groove of the work is set and driven as the vocals join the mixture. When the vocals join, it is heard that the instrumentation lessens to blend with his sound while staying present, which makes the symmetry of the track impeccable. The first verse of the work has a slow progression to it, for it starts out almost flimsy, but as it evolves to the chorus, it solidifies and turns into something cohesively strong. The chorus of the work isn’t overly exciting, but it provides the audience with a simple melodic line that they could easily resonate with. The band includes a small instrumental transition before returning to the structure that is characteristic for the band for a verse. The band utilizes another gradual evolution as they approach the chorus of the work. Towards the end of the selection, the band includes a spin off verse that has a more progressive instrumental line held underneath it. This is strong for the band, for it helps to capture the audience’s attention, which will bring them right back to the memorable chorus to close the work.

 “Is It Gonna Be the Year?” starts with a bumping groove from the first second of the work. This groove is heard at a distance, and as the beginning of the track evolves, the tones of the group grows into a vibrant occasion. This groove is led by the entire instrumental ensemble, and it focuses on the subdivisions of the pulse of the piece while including step-wise motives within the string section. When the vocalist enters, the instrumental section subtracts a few members to leave only the percussion section. This keeps the foundation of the groove solid as the vocalist provides an overly pleasing verse to the audience. He produces such a melodic line by switching between vocal types to enhance certain parts of his lyrical thoughts; additionally, most of his content falls in the middle part of his range, which produces a well-rounded musical timbre. As the piece begins its transition to the chorus, more of the instrumental section joins in to provide the audience with a chorus that is filled with various melodic ideas, instrumentally and vocally speaking. As the band falls back into the verse, the instrumentation remains texturally thicker compared to the first verse, which works well for the band, for it helps them to provide an even bigger run of the chorus, the second time around. Near the end of the work, the band includes a large instrumental interlude that features the string section in a multidimensional way. This interlude immediately switches to a vocal line sung in isolation other than one lower-resonating string instrument. The remainder of the instrumental section adds in slowly to build to one final run of the chorus, which will lead the audience to the end of the selection. This is a foreseen favorite from the album, for it has a likable sound, and it provides the audience with a new spin of what Senses Fail normally does, musically speaking.

“’You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes…’” starts with an edgy string motive that focuses on tone colors that produce a dark, grungier tint through their melodic interpretation. This motive drives the instrumental content for the selection, and it sets the overall aura for the piece through its various dimensions. When the full instrumental ensemble enters, each part takes a role in enhancing this motive, from there, the vocals enter in soon after. When the vocals enter, the instrumentation drops slightly to allow the dark themed vocals shine; however, the vocalist is able to keep this “darker” vibe by keeping the bulk of his vocals in the lower to middle part of his range. When the band arrives at the chorus of the work, the groove settles into a new light where they back the lyrics up, rhythmically speaking. As the band falls back into the verse mold, they return to their original groove, which doesn’t last long because they will soon return to the chorus where they will follow the previously set format for that section. In the middle of the track, the band includes an instrumental feature that focus on a gentler motivic idea, for the tone color of the instrumental material has lightened up by this point. When the vocals enter, they are shot at the audience at a quicker rate, which meshes well with the progressive motion that is set through the percussion section. This section leads the audience to a development of the chorus, which is approached from the vocalist’s higher ranger, which gives the audience a new, pleasant, timbre to attach to before returning to the original chorus of the piece. The work concludes with the vocalist screaming, “I won’t lie, I won’t lie, I won’t lie…” making for a powerful ending.

“Orlando and a Miscarriage” starts with a rapid string motive that is joined by the lead vocals almost instantly. Once the vocal enters, the percussion section enters to amplify the rapid tempo that the band has set from the very beginning of the track. Right before the band moves to the chorus of the work, all of the instrumentation drops out except faint chordal like tones to allow the audience to breathe before the band jumps into their heightened chorus that resonates at an overly pleasing timbre. The band provides the audience with a short second verse that utilizes a groove that falls closer to a half-time driven feel. This gives their listeners some musical variety before quickly returning to their overly elaborate chorus. This second run allows for the instrumentation to keep the steady pulse while also giving the audience small embellishments to make sure they were continuously getting new melodic materials. Right before the end of the track, the band drops out all of their instrumentation to allow the vocals to reign in isolation, and his lonesome vocals will take the listeners to the end of the work.

 “Shaking Hands” starts with a relaxed instrumental feature that grabs the audience’s attention with a loud hit in the percussion section before all members come together to amplify this specific sound. The band allows this grove to stick with the listeners for a moment before the vocalist enters overtop with a gentle melodic line. The vocals utilize the clean vocal-type while providing a small rise and fall to give the audience a simple motive to attach to. As the band transitions into the chorus, it is heard that they increase their dynamics at a gradual rate, but the overall feel of the piece remains on the lower side of the spectrum, which is strong with the relaxed vibe that was set from the beginning of the piece. The second verse leading into the second run of the chorus follows similar tactics as the beginning, which works well for the band because this gives the audience a simple melody to resonate with, even if the song isn’t overly slow or minimal, instrumentally speaking. This was a smart track to include on the album, for it would fall into the “ballad” category, if there were to be one on the album, and the band provides the audience with such a track without separating from their characteristic sound.

“Stay What You Are” starts with a rapid percussion motive that seems to wrap itself, musically and rhythmically, in a circle as the string section joins in to give a fully-textured instrumental interlude before the vocals enter. The instrumental section eventually settles into a less aggressive groove as the vocals are voiced. When they enter, they sit in the middle range of the vocalist, which returns the audience to the band’s characteristic sound quickly. Before the band transitions to the chorus of the work, all of the instrumentation drops out (other than a repetitive string motive) to allow the vocals to sit in isolation. This moment remains for some time before the instrumentation ceases, and everyone joins in at the arrival point for the chorus of the work. The chorus of the selection is overly memorable through the lyrics to the musical material that is presented by the instrumental section. The chorus spins off to the second verse of the work effortlessly by a small instrumental feature focusing on the similar strumming by the string section. The second verse mimics the first with small additional nuances to give the audience something a tad different. Like other portions of the track, the band uses the string repetitive motive to get the audience to the next segment of the piece: this time being the reoccurrence of the chorus. After the chorus, the band moves to a third verse that keeps the heightened groove by the instrumental section strong. The vocalist combats this while utilizing stronger vocals that ride nicely overtop the harmonics that the instrumental section is sustaining. Before the band transitions into the end of the selection, they fall back into that string motive with vocals in isolation. This method helps to drive the listeners up until the end by finishing the work almost abruptly.

 “If There is Light, It Will Find You” starts with a string motive in isolation. This string motive repeats the same tones over and over before eventually moving up in pitch slightly to provide different harmonics to the track. Soon after that first harmonic step is made by the strings, the section splits to provide a canonic effect as the second string starts the sequence from the beginning. So, at this point, the audience is now hearing a chordal sequence instead of a monotone one. When the vocals of the track enter, the instrumental section remains strong with the percussion entering to provide a minimal pulse, which keeps the work symmetrical as the groove of the work is created. The vocals that are introduced are sung with a loving sound quality. This is strong, for it helps the audience attach to the dolce nature of the melodic line that is drug out throughout the entirety of the work. After the first run of the chorus, the band includes an instrumental feature that focuses on a small string motive that circles around step-wise fluctuations of pitch. This creates a new melodic idea that remains, sporadically, throughout the instrumental section throughout the rest of the track. As one listens to the second verse and the second run of the chorus, they become mesmerized by the gentle nature of the work because the lyrics are easy to resonate with, and the mixture of instrumental to vocal cohesiveness makes the audience member almost melt into the sound the band is providing. Towards the end of the track, the vocalist sings out “how can I forget you?” with the instrumental section amplifying their sound by at least ten percent.  From here, the band expands on this notion by spinning into the title of the track (and the album). The band will ride this until almost the very end. Before the end of the piece, the band drops in texture as well as dynamics to allow the vocals to reign in isolation while providing heightened instrumental juxtapositions to add to the dramatic nature of the track. To get the listeners to the end of the album, the vocalist utilizes his heavier vocals one last time in another verse to drive them to the chorus one final time. This final chorus rises and eventually falls to end the album on a softer note. This is such a strong closing selection for the album because it gives the audience a sense of everything the band has to offer musically speaking; also, since it is the track that sings the title of the album, listeners were expecting huge things from the band (within this selection), and they did anything but disappoint. This song is easily one of the best tracks on the album and will likely be a favorite without a doubt.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I am giving this album such a score for several reasons. The main reason I am giving this album such a score is because the album is enjoyable from start to finish, and the band is able to produce such an effect by giving their audience such a diverse yet memorable album. The other reason that I landed on this score is because you can hear the band’s characteristic nuances throughout each work; also, you can hear their evolution as a band, which is always cool to experience.

*”If There is Light, It Will Find You” was released on February 16, 2018 through Pure Noise Records.

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