Balance and Composure - Light We Made (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Balance and Composure

Light We Made (2016)

Vagrant Records

Balance and Composure made a dance record. Not even kidding. They've scrubbed out the anger and rage from their signature post-hardcore/grunge style to make Light We Made something that's more spacey, moody and shoegaze. Sure, there's a lot of melody and rhythm involved in the mix but part of the magic they made on records like Separation and The Things We Think We're Missing was steeped in their raw musical aggression. That said, the Pennsylvania quintet have managed to pack a lot of swoony emotion into this album. It won't grab you like the older stuff but honestly, it's pretty catchy and not as dull and drastic as say, what Title Fight did in their musical endeavors later on. 

Seeing vocalist, Jon Simmons, sing and dance these tunes away at Riot Fest showed how free he was. It's clearly a love letter broken down into a tribute to bands like The Smiths and The Cure -- as "Spinning" would show. But you can clearly feel that they wanted to do something different and their transition's similar to what Basement did on their last album. No surprise to see Will Yip produce because he's the go-to guy when bands want to shake the angst for something more melodic or reverb-laden. "For A Walk" is another great example of this distorted, lo-fi and buzzy sound. But like I said, everything's done so smartly and with quite a mainstream appeal. "Postcard" is one of the tracks I loved seeing live. Its dance beats had me thinking it was a drum machine but the live performance and Jon's swaying had me actually understanding, vibing and giving their new style a second look. Well-written, neatly arranged and built on clever timing. If the pit allows some slow-dancing, you're good to go with these tracks.

"Fame" is one of the few songs that harken back to the old Balance and Composure days as well as "Is It So Much To Adore". They feel more alt-rock than anything else but still awash with the new circuits of harmony draped all over Light We Made. Maybe Simmons and co. are looking away from the dark days of old into something more optimistic and positive. The songwriting's still pretty on point and dramatic. More so, you can feel that the spine's present here which made their older music tick. It's just the meat on the bones that's spiced very differently. Overall, not something I'd expect from BC and not something I'd love from your average joe, but somehow these guys make it work. Pretty intriguing evolution to say the least.