Balance And Composure – [Album]

Friday, 18 October 2013

There is no nice or polite way to write this, but someone has to say it: Balance And Composure is not the first band to make The Things We Think We're Missing. They might not even be the tenth band to release it. The Things We Think We're Missing has been made by bands including Finch, The Starting Line, The Early November and Hellogoodbye; in fact, it could be argued that Balance And Composure's new album (their second) has been made by every band who was ever signed to Drive-Thru Records – all each of them did was change the name and album art every time. That's right, Balance And Composure have replicated the formula for a great emo record and released it on the world – all over again. Some critics might call that formulaic re-processing of well-worn ideas abhorrent, but this critic contends that the pop and rock spectrum have room for Balance And Composure; with the emo herd thinned down now (how many good emo and screamo bands are left in circulation now? Five?), it's the perfect time for The Things We Think We're Missing to come out and, on it, the band proves that they have the heart and power to make it work.

It won't take long for even the most hardened skeptics to accept that the details of the demise of both emo and screamo were greatly exaggerated when songs like “Parachute,” “Back Of Your Head,” “When I Come undone” and “Dirty Head” hit them. In each of those songs, the guitars straddle a precarious line between hardcore slam and shoegaze texture while bassist Matt Warner and drummer Bailey Van Ellis hold a swaggering, powerful meter, but the thing which might just make believers out of those who hear the music – the thing which proves that screamo might just have a few ragged breaths left in it which are popular enough to make this band the next big thing again is singer Jonathan Simmons. While he might have tried to pull his larynx out and show it to people on Balance And Composure's first album, this time Simmons gets smart and projects his voice with a stronger emphasis on melody over just raw power. While he does push very hard throughout this album, (unlike last time) listeners won't be given any reason to be concerned that these songs may cause him to collapse or crumble; this time, he commands the arrangements of these songs and cuts his own space through them rather than just reacting and trying to weave around the rest of the band's performance.

With all of the above in mind, it goes without saying that The Things We Think We're Missing is a success – but the question of whether screamo has a place in the pitch-perfected pop market of 2013 remains unanswered. This record might be good, but Balance And Composure are standing pretty peerless at the moment because those few screamo bands remaining from the last cache have history and their fan-bases made while Balance And Composure is pretty untested. There's no way to say for certain if The Things We Think We're Missing will come to be known as the album that broke Balance And Composure through the auto-tuned pop barrier but, if pop audiences are ready to get angry, this band is just itching to be found and this record has the stuff to break through if the conditions are right.



The Things We Think We're Missing
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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