Senses Fail - The Fire
Record Label - Vagrant Records
Release Date - October 26, 2010
As soon as I heard that Senses Fail was recording a new album, I immediately brushed it off. Their previous record, Life Is Not A Waiting Room, was good on first listen, but left a really bad aftertaste that kept me away from the band for quite a while. I had originally thought that I was over Senses Fail and it was time to move on to bigger and better things. Don't give me that look, Senses Fail, you knew this would come; that I would inevitably outgrow your music. But after revisiting Still Searching, and then finally listening to The Fire, I’ve come to the new realization that Senses Fail are persistent little fuckers, aren’t they?
The first obvious note about this album is that there are pretty much 3 categories of song to be found on this record: Light, Medium, Heavy. Of course even the “Light” sounds carry some form of Senses Fail-intensity so while distinguishable, they don’t stick out. Some songs, however, fall under categories in an obvious fashion in The Fire. The opener of the same name lends itself to foreshadow nearly every sound you’re about to hear during the next 40 or so minutes, carrying elements of the entire record into one 4-minute track that bites off more than it can chew and you can get to the point a lot faster by pressing “skip”.
First you have the light songs: “Landslide” and “Hold On”. ”Landslide”, while meaning well, is dragged down by its own tempo of the opening lyrics. The thing about an interlude-song like any other “Track 6” is that while being a break from the extreme pace, it needs to catch people in the first few seconds. “Hold On” succeeds in that fashion, bringing forth not only an interesting new direction in sound for the band, but also providing a worthy album-closure.
The medium tempo songs are both The Fire’s gift and curse. The standout tracks on the record shine brightly here while others that don’t hold up nearly as well are even less tolerable because they’re far too similar in sound. “Saint Anthony” loses the battle (as would every other song on the record) to “Safe House”, arguably the best Senses Fail song ever written. “Headed West” and “Irish Eyes” take the bronze and silver, respectively.
The heavier songs on the album feel like they’re in a 100-meter dash; fast, agressive, and lyrically to-the-point. “New Years Eve” really brings the record to a point of worth after a lackluster opening 2 tracks, with riffs reminiscent of the best of Waiting Room, yet somehow manages to hold up better than any of it's tracks. “Coward” is where the album shines. “Lifeboats” wants to be that song, but the anger found in Buddy Neilson’s lyrics bring an energy to “Coward” that gives it the edge to grab the gold medal.
Here I thought that Senses Fail were that band to stick around with until you eventually and inevitably found better things to listen to. The Fire has proven to be like a piece of Dentyne Ice Artic Chill; there’s an intense freshness given to this band from this album that has been lost from their previous misguidance. Buddy Neilson even said it himself that Waiting Room did not live up to expectations. He doesn’t have the new definitive Senses Fail album with The Fire (that still belongs to Still Searching), but he’s about to draw in a lot of new fans and hopefully make a lot of older fans happy with a very successful and honest album. One of the best of the year.