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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Still Searching for Senses Fail’s Older Touches

Senses Fail is one of those bands I started listening to in my early high school years after a friend handed me a mix CD with one of their songs on it. Their dark lyrics, heavy guitar and abundant screaming made them stand out. Their sound was unmistakable.

I’ve been stuck on “Let It Enfold You” for years. I love it. The songs are damn catchy, and the lyrics, though generic and expected at times, still echo in my mind.

So, I guess I had some high expectations for their sophomore effort “Still Searching.” This isn’t to say it’s a bad album-because it’s not-but I was expecting it to be darker, more mature and still dealing with topics like the gruesome details of suicide. Also, I was expecting (and hoping for) much, much more screaming.

The lyrics on this album are about lead singer Buddy Neilson’s suicide attempt and its aftermath, and losing the Christian faith, as opposed to their previous albums, where the lyrics dealt more with the mechanics of death and mutilation.

Musically, “Still Searching” sounds a lot like “Let It Enfold You,” but with a heavier emphasis on the guitar (thanks to the addition of former Midtown guitarist Heath Saraceno), as well as what sounds like a touch of double bass in the drum department.

“The Rapture,” a quick two-minute intro piece and “Bonecrusher” were great songs to pick for the openers of the album. They fit together well and are reminiscent of the songs on “Let It Enfold You.” It is a relief that “Still Searching” isn’t drastically different, but is also kind of a disappointment that “Still Searching” isn’t very different.

The standout track is definitely “All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Problems.” It has a crazy, techno-like intro, and a crazy, techno-like outro, already setting it apart from the rest of their cookie-cutter screamo. It also serves to pick “Still Searching” back up in terms of heaviness, as the tracks took a slow turn come the middle of the album.

“Still Searching” closes out with “Negative Space,” clocking in at a bit less than a minute and a half, and “The Priest and The Matador,” both slower tracks that chronicle the “death” of the character whose story has been told throughout the album.

They’re good songs, but they still have me reaching for more. I don’t skip over them like I’ve skipped tracks in new releases from other bands (I’m not one to point fingers, but here’s looking at you, Linkin Park), but I think by the end of the album, I was frustrated that they kept all the basic parts of “Let It Enfold You,” added more guitar, some breakdown-like drum beats and got rid of the lyrics that set them apart.

This could have been the album that crowned Senses Fail as kings of the cookie-cutter screamo band. Unfortunately, they still sit number two to The Used.

While it may have been less than what I was hoping for, “Still Searching” has found itself a place on my iPod, with “All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Problems,” “Bonecrusher” (which is just a ridiculously awesome song title) and “Sick or Sane” finding their way into my most played tracks.

Fans of The Used, Thursday, Jimmy Eat World, The Ataris and more in those musical veins should give this album a listen. Regardless of its downfalls, I would still suggest “Still Searching” to my friends. However, it’s no “Let It Enfold You.” Or “From the Depths of Dreams,” for that matter.