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Still Searching

Senses Fail

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Album Review

The year 2006 found many of Senses Fail's pals taking decisive steps toward transformation. As the genre became clogged past its breaking point, everyone involved suddenly wanted to break free from an emo/screamo tag by altering their sonic approach. Consequently, it's a bit surprising that for their sophomore effort, Senses Fail has instead embraced the original sound that gained them attention in the first place; it's even more unexpected considering guitarist Heath Saraceno (of Midtown fame) is now counted in their ranks, since his experience could have easily taken the guys in a totally new direction. But this decision absolutely works out for them. Still Searching is like 2004's Let It Enfold You, but two years older — tighter, fuller, and more honest. The focus here is more on tense emo rock with a hard pop edge than scream-bloody-murder screamo — since there is less emphasis on screaming — yet the music remains wholly Senses Fail. Fans will appreciate the band's rejection of a drastic makeover to instead to churn out a hugely solid set of songs blasted with fist-pumping choruses, crashing dynamics, swirling guitars, and gang vocals galore. And thankfully, the guttural shrieks are more purposefully integrated and less like crutches to fall back on. There's no denying the strength of bigger tracks like "Can't Be Saved" (though it resembles 2004's "Buried a Lie") and the invigorating title track, the latter relying heavily on rousing gang vocals, while the anguished yet calming suicide leap of "The Priest and the Matador" brings Buddy Nielsen's vulnerability to the forefront. Nielsen's lyrics are distraught throughout, but instead of killing exes (there are surprisingly few breakup songs this time around), he explores the personal. Suffering from severe anxiety surrounding this record, his agitated words overwhelmingly explore ideas of self-doubt, loss of faith, and disillusionment, to the point that when he sings "My life is better than it ever was" on "To All the Crowded Rooms," it's hard to tell if he's making a statement or trying to convince himself of such. Despite being one of its scene's bigger names, Senses Fail has still always been pretty interchangeable with the rest. But seeing as Still Searching is much stronger an album than their successful 2004 debut, it really has the potential to finally help Senses Fail stand heads above the pack if only for staying true to what it is they do best.

Customer Reviews

Timeless and wonderful album

This is my favorite Senses Fail album. The themes and lyricism that Buddy puts forth for this record almost make this a twisted Rock Opera of sorts. He reflects on depression, substance abuse, family issues, along with many other struggles that many deal with. The musicians on this record are still second to none some of the best. Dan Trapp is as great of a drummer as he's ever been, Mike had one hell of a finale for his career as the bassist of SF, and the guitar work courtesy of Garret and Heath is one of the best duos i've ever heard. What really separates this record from any other are the dynamics that can be heard from song to song. To All The Crowded Rooms is a more uplifting energetic song, and followed by the mellow, chiming sounds in Lost and Found. My personal favorite songs, Shark Attack, Priest and the Matador, The Rapture, and Still Searching have remained some of my favorites from any band in this era, and they have a strong grip on the title. In a world where few give credit where credit is due, I highly recommend buying this record, and I personally guarantee that it will become a timeless rock album to any listeners.

Biography

Formed: 2002 in Ridgewood, NJ

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Comprised of vocalist James "Buddy" Nielsen, guitarists Dave Miller and Garrett Zablocki, bassist Michael Glita (former percussionist for Tokyo Rose), and drummer Dan Trapp, the New Jersey outfit Senses Fail developed a slick amalgam of post-hardcore chuggery and emo heartbreak that recalled such fellow New Jersey-based groups as Saves the Day. Formed in 2002 in Bergen County, Senses Fail quickly issued a debut EP and began gigging regularly while maintaining a thriving Internet presence. Drive-Thru...
Full Bio