Balance and Composure- My Current Addiction


I really can’t get enough of this band lately and can’t stop listening to their latest album, “The Things We Think We’re Missing.” I felt compelled to write about them after trying to describe their sound to a friend today and then later listening to a new album from another “hard to categorize” band, La Dispute. To be honest, it took more than a few listens to grow on me. I had listened to their 2011 album “Separation” a few times and enjoyed it, but kind of forgot about the band until I saw that they would be touring with Manchester Orchestra this spring. When I purchased my tickets for the show, I became determined to fall in love with Balance and Composure, and although it took a little effort at first, I fell pretty hard. I don’t think I’ve been as addicted to an album since Senses Fail’s masterpiece, “Renacer” came out this time last year. “The Things We Think We’re Missing” has been in heavy rotation pretty much everywhere I go for the past few months. If I had published a “Best Albums of 2013” list, this album would be right near the top.

The album speaks to my “emo”/post hardcore sensibilities in almost the same way that Thursday’s “War All The Time” did ten years ago. Although B&C’s sound and lyricism are remarkably different from Thursday’s, they do have similar hard hitting, emotionally intense and reflective qualities that always leave quite an imprint on me every time I listen to them. I have a feeling that much like “War All The Time,” this album will always sound fresh to me. Like rereading a really good book or rewatching one of my favorite TV series, I keep finding new little things to appreciate about the album, and I know it will stay in my rotation, earning a place among my favorite albums of all time.

Sonically, it evokes both the heavier alt-rock and emo bands I liked from the 90’s, such as Sunny Day Real Estate, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Smashing Pumpkins, and some of my favorite post-hardcore bands from the 00’s, such as Brand New. The lyrics are simple but powerful (my favorite: “A roller coaster ride in the dark to places I don’t want to go / Parachutes to break my fall, tangled up in deeper thought / Make falling faster, I’m falling faster”), and Jon Simmons’ delivery is emotive, authentic and well nuanced, as he shifts easefully between softer, low tones of desperation and sadness and more escalated gritty, throaty screams. The three songs that stand out for me and that transition beautifully from one to the next are “Reflection,” “I’m Swimming,” and “When I Come Undone.”

I truly can’t get enough of this band, I’m beyond excited to see them open for Manchester Orchestra, and I expect that they’ll get some wider recognition and appreciation as a result.

Side note: they have some amazing merch and their t-shirts/hoodies are like a whole line of clothing that I kind of want to own in its entirety. Not your average band t-shirt. Check it out:

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