The most ardent of Senses Fail fans will find this effort easy to love. Let’s get that right. It’s pure, visceral, and vulnerable, making it surpass something that is just simply heard, but rather felt deep within your core. Packed with more emotion than many full-lengths, In Your Absence is a true hero of 2017.

There’s a longing and a breaking that can be felt when listening to In Your Absence, but love is also in abundance on this record. Buddy stated that these songs were written for his wife, who is battling MS. He commented on Twitter, “In all honesty it doesn’t matter what people think because they are for her”, and he’s right. Music is a form of expression, and for many, a way to heal and cope. Those who criticize, hyper-focus on the technicality and sound, and forget to connect with the meaning and inspiration behind the record. This isn’t an album that’s meant to be analyzed, it’s an album that is meant to be felt. That’s the biggest strength it has. Maybe it’s personal for me, because I’m currently struggling with my dad’s recent cancer diagnosis, but it’s something you can’t help but relate with in some form or another. Many people have known that fear of possibly losing someone you love, and it’s not easy to express to those around you, let alone strangers. Buddy let us in, allowed us to explore his thoughts and feelings, and that takes a lot of guts to do. That in itself makes In Your Absence a beautiful standout in Senses Fail’s beloved discography.

When you hear him sing, “Can we make a pact, If one of us dies, then other one will too, Cause I can’t standing living, in this world without you, Love is worth the risk, Without you my life would be worthless, I’d follow you into the abyss,” you can feel the pain breaking off his vocal chords as if he is on his knees pleading up towards the sky. I also have to say that making this album acoustic was the best decision. It not only amplifies the feeling of the record, but it also allows that feeling to shine through in songs like “Jets To Peru,” and “Death Bed” with its tenderness and subtly. These songs blend perfectly in with those that we’ve come to love like “Lost and Found,” and “Family Tradition,” which were revamped on the record. I remember how I felt when I first heard “Lost and Found” ten years ago when I was 15 and angsty. There’s something so relatable and tangible in the original, but the stripped-down acoustic version peels back yet another layer that we previously didn’t know existed, giving Senses Fail fans an opportunity to experience songs like “Lost and Found” and “Family Tradition” for the first time all over again.

In Your Absence is not only a beautiful, heartfelt EP that is easily loved, but it is also a 15 year celebration of Senses Fail. Feel old yet? I know I sure do.. But I also feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s the best way to pay tribute to all they’ve given us over the course of 15 years. With the perfect mixture of past and the present, In Your Absence is both nostalgic and forward-looking, making it something that will stick with you forever just like Let It Enfold You and every other Senses Fail creation.