As a teenager in the 2000’s, Senses Fail were a constant in my music library. It’s been blaring out of my Walkman/iPod/car for as long as I can remember. Fast-forward to 2017 and the band are celebrating their 15th anniversary as a band. Along with an upcoming tour, which will include complete performances of their 2006 album, Still Searching, the band have released a new acoustic EP. In Your Absence includes three new tracks as well as two old favourites reimagined for this special release.
The new EP takes a couple of pit stops along the highway the band have been traveling down these past 15 years. While their past few releases have been slightly heavier, leadsinger (and last remaining original member) Buddy Nielsen suggested that he wanted the band to do the polar opposite for this EP and calm things down. Nielsen has been known for his growls and screams in previous releases, but this time he notches another one in his belt showing a composed and sensitive side to his vocal delivery. Typically overshadowed by guitars and drums, Nielsen’s vocals are usually drowned out a fair bit, but luckily we can hear all him in all his glory on the EP’s three new tracks; ‘Jets to Peru’, ‘In Your Absence’ and ‘Death Bed’.
It can be a bit disconcerting on first listen. When ‘Jets to Peru’ comes in you may think you’re listening to the wrong band. It has a more pop sound and significantly more romantic lyrics, instead of the typically darker and ironic lyrical approach. Consider Nielsen’s objectives complete!
However, it’s testament to Nielsen and the band that they can change things up so diligently. ‘Jets to Peru’, along with the other two new songs are a much needed slow down to our crazy lives. Still, despite being more ‘ballad’ than ‘baller’ the tracks remain catchy as hell.
So, on to the two re-workings. ‘Family Tradition’ has always been (in my opinion) an extremely underrated song, it captures what the band has done best over the years; writing catchy and punk songs that seamlessly capture an unrivaled, raw angst and melody. Slowing it down and focusing on those angry, emotional lyrics makes for a beautiful change.
The same can be said for the new version of Still Searching track, ‘Lost and Found’; beautifully arranged and a great addition to the EP.
Senses Fail has always been a band of growth and change. From their sound to their lyrical content, they’ll always been able to change direction and allow a breath of fresh air.