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Balance and Composure - The Things We Think We're Missing (Cover Artwork)

Balance and Composure

Balance and Composure: The Things We Think We're MissingThe Things We Think We're Missing (2013)
No Sleep Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: BryneBryne
(others by this writer | submit your own)

If you're reading this, chances are good that at some point in your life, there was an album that completely consumed you. To you, this album was a perfect allegory of an imperfect time, a time when you were wrong, misled, confused or disappointed, either by your own actions or the actions of others.
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If you're reading this, chances are good that at some point in your life, there was an album that completely consumed you. To you, this album was a perfect allegory of an imperfect time, a time when you were wrong, misled, confused or disappointed, either by your own actions or the actions of others. You listened to this album loudly through headphones – probably while lying on your bedroom floor and staring at the ceiling – and for a time, experienced that weird sensation of simultaneous isolation and connection, like driving home with a friend or significant other, holding hands but never saying a word.

For many, The Things We Think We're Missing will be that album. Few bands convey the strange mishmash of emotions that cloud relationships better than Balance and Composure, and this is their best work yet.

First of all, Missing is far louder, moodier and cloudier than B&C's excellent 2011 debut LP, Separation. Living up to its title, there was a palpable distance ingrained into those songs; you'd never know the band had three guitarists unless you checked the liner notes. Missing has a live-room feel, with a din permeating throughout nearly every moment like a pair of weary eyes. It's almost immediately evident in opener "Parachutes," as the guitars uglily dance around each other, rising and falling seemingly on a dime; as Jon Simmons sings I'm falling faster, so goes the distortion. It's a neat trick.

Throughout Missing, Simmons sounds fractured and vulnerable. His voice is often scratchy and his intonations desperate; he's singing about loss as he's seemingly losing his voice, which makes the words hit twice as hard, especially on the swirling "Lost Your Name." Background screams pierce the somewhat quieter "Back of Your Head" which leads into the devastating "Tiny Raindrop," which as Simmons has said, is about wanting someone but realizing your limitations: "It's a vision of being with someone you are infatuated with but eventually letting them down. You know when you're driving on a really nice day and everything is great and then you see that first raindrop on your windshield and it instantly ruins your day because you know what's coming? That's me in a relationship." Talk about a painfully relatable metaphor.

Missing remains stunningly consistent from there; "Reflection," "I'm Swimming" and "Keepsake" are maybe the most well-rounded songs on the album, with those moodier, vibier elements at the forefront thanks to captivating guitar play that's aided, as all of the album is, by the top-notch production of Will Yip. Yip, who has quickly become the producer nom du jour for rock bands in this scene, plays to Balance and Composure's strengths, letting the ugly parts stay ugly and using the muddled sound as another instrument instead of eradicating it. Being surrounded with these loud, tortured rock songs makes the austere, acoustic "Dirty Head" resonate much more than it would otherwise, too.

Time will certainly tell, but The Things We Think We're Missing has a chance to be a tentpole album in this scene, the kind of accomplishment that invokes deep feeling in everyone who listens to it and inspires a score of imitators. It's bitingly honest, thoroughly self-reflective and often, uncomfortably relatable. One of the best albums of the year.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Title Fight - Floral GreenDaylight - JarBalance and Composure - SeparationTouché Amoré - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and MeThe Menzingers - On the Impossible PastThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundTouche Amore - Is Survived ByJoyce Manor - Of All Things I Will Soon Grow TiredComadre - ComadreTitle Fight - Spring Songs [7-inch]

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ivano (January 7, 2014)

What the guy below me said. Too much noise imo. Spoils the album.

stonehands9198 (November 6, 2013)

In the day and age of young gun records that are pushing the boundaries sonically, this record manages to overshadow GREAT songs with terrible production value. It's hard for me to come to terms that I'm calling out Willy Yip and Brad Wood...but this is probably the worst sonically sounding record each has ever done. Let's hope this was a mastering engineers fault...but do me a favor and turn down the guitars, turn up the vocals, and STOP rolling off all the top end. Those cymbals want to breathe and flourish in the higher frequencies. A good record to compare what was done right vs wrong is the Basement record 'Colour Me In Kindness' recorded and mixed by Sam Pura and Mastered by TW Walsh...compare that record to this one and it blows 'The Things We Think We're Missing' out of the water tenfold. Maybe I am being critical because I expected so much from this band on this record, but the simple fact is that the production team messed this record up, not the band. In my opinion, It would be wise for them to record with Sam Pura on the next record as everything coming out of his studio seems to be flawless these days.

Sincerely,
A disappointed audio junkie.

onegirlarmy (September 12, 2013)

This is fantastic. Separation was a pleasant surprise in that it ended up being my favorite release of 2011 - surprise because I thought (and still think) Only Boundaries was really boring. Their Tigers Jaw split tracks I felt were better but Separation was what really won me over. This record is excellent overall and it may not be my best of the year, but it'll probably be in the top 10.

ryanky (September 11, 2013)

Did anyone else think Separation was a let down from the EPs? I loved the EPs but couldn't get into separation at all

Piata (September 11, 2013)

Er, not Reflection... Seperation.

Piata (September 11, 2013)

The songs kind of meld together toward the end but the album is so well done that it doesn't matter. After Only Boundaries, this is what I expected of Reflection and they finally delivered. And that's not a hit on Reflection either which is good but isn't near-perfect like this album is.

theTopher (September 10, 2013)

Separation didn't stick with me... I played its first half a lot trying to get into it, but it just isn't what I hoped this band would put together after the EPs.

I'll listen to this eventually and try to give it a fair shake.

ivano (September 10, 2013)

Nice review. First paragraph is spot on, as you say here.

Only complaint about the album, sometimes the sound is too drowned in guitars, too chaotic. Otherwise I love it.

ak3punk (September 10, 2013)

The last album was incredible. It's become one of my most listened to albums without even thinking about it. B&C deliver such a ton of depth that very time I listen to "Seperation" I've found something new I haven't heard before. Can't wait to spend a ton of time with the new album.

big_guy (September 10, 2013)

first two songs and reflection are bomb, but the rest is pretty boring.

Rich27 (September 10, 2013)

Enjoying the first track - not sure I'm gonna have the same feelings towards this album as Bryne but we'll see.

renaldo69 (September 10, 2013)

1. That first paragraph = how I felt about Thursday

2. 'Separation' was always gonna be hard to top but this really gave a good go!

3. Pope...hmmm...I can't say I agree there. Bolm and Jon fit their resp. bands perfectly. The new TA record, and this new BC, actually shows that. Different strokes I guess.

davebrave4 (September 10, 2013)

*Lying, not laying.

-Punknews Grammar Nazi

thepopeofchili-town (September 10, 2013)

First thing I've really liked from this band. I still maintain they'd be way better with a different vocalist, though. Same thing goes for Touche Amore. These bands are outgrowing their singers pretty quickly.

Blackjaw_ (September 10, 2013)

Even better than Separation. I wanted to give it 9 but I decided to hold back.

michael_jackson_jordan (September 10, 2013)

When I gave this album its first spin, I didn't like it. When I gave it a second spin, I still didn't like it. I reminded myself however that when I heard Title Fight for the first time, I wasn't sold immediately, so maybe I needed more time to digest this listen. It took me about four listens to get comfortable with it and now it's one of my favorite modern hardcore albums of the year.

Nice review to help clarify the situation further. I recently entered my 30s and a few years back, rekindled my love for melodic hardcore through Touche Amore and Title Fight, so it's reassuring to see that there's new music out there in the genre I can still relate to at this age of my life.

danperrone (September 10, 2013)

oh god. so bad. will never understand the love fest for this band.

aaronrkc (September 10, 2013)

Really solid but not as memorable as their last LP.

LeonardNotLenny (September 10, 2013)

fucking BORING

LeonardNotLenny (September 10, 2013)

fucking BORING

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