Balance and Composure - I Just Want to Be Pure (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Balance and Composure

I Just Want to Be Pure (2008)


Balance & Composure sound like a potentially whiny bullshit band of the modern era saved by exposure to awesome `90s bands (just look at the influence list on their MySpace page). You might mistake their earnestness on their I Just Want to Be Pure EP at first for typical youth angst, but a few more listens in and one comes to realize just how merely sincere Balance & Composure are being, and how much better they are for it.

I Just Want to Be Pure is an oscillating practice in pure emotion. The title track opens things like a heavier, more noodly Mineral before transitioning into "Weak Man, Weak Boy," where a carefully strummed guitar and melodic narrative pushes the song, with an upbeat set of chords that carries us out. However, things are a little darker on B&C's best song, "Alone for Now." It's more dynamic and the chorus is fantastic; the grittiest you'll hear them on the entire EP, their vocalist sounds absolutely pained and exasperated when he sings, "Take me to a place where I don't know anybody. / Leave me alone for now. / I've grown sick of every face that I've known / This keeps me up at night." You've gotta pray this style and level of catharcism sets the precedent for future releases.

That's pretty much the absolute highlight on Pure, but there's still some good moments to be had on the second half. I've heard comparisons to the Early November, and I never would've thought of them on my own, but it is somewhat present at some times, like on "Waiting, Thinking, Giving Up," where the singer does sort of bear similarity to Ace Enders. Musically, some great time changes are splintered in here, while a bridge exhibits a guitar tone totally reminiscent of self-titled-era Third Eye Blind (think Polar Bear Club's Sometimes Things Just Disappear).

"Pull of the Ground" carefully resonates in more delicate, heartfelt cooing territory for the most part, but it's musically layered and impressively complex. "Chapter 20" closes the EP with American Football-esque mathy guitar noodling, a shuffling drum beat and that pensive feel they pull off so well.

I definitely prefer Balance & Composure's grittier moments, but they do the softer thing well enough. In any event, they have another EP due out in the summer and I'll be looking forward to it either way.


Weak Man, Weak Boy
Alone for Now