If someone asked you to name one band on the now noteworthy No Sleep Records roster, odds are your guess would drift somewhere other than Balance and Composure. Though they’ve certainly done enough to make their mark on the alternative rock scene in the short time they’ve been together, their time on No Sleep has been slightly overshadowed by other talented acts that have gone on to accomplish great things both commercially and critically for being on a small independent label. But with a new full-length by the name of Separation and a chance to truly shine, Balance and Composure have hit the nail on the head with their brand of emotionally-fueled alt-rock, crafting something moving and addicting that will turn heads of rockers and grunge fans alike. Separation is an ode to the band’s name, showing a band with maturity in songwriting that can balance beauty and angst without sacrificing their sound along the way.
Where Separation truly excels is in B&C’s ability to pull so many things together into something that calls to you on so many levels. Where some hear bits of ‘90s alternative to the tune of Nirvana (“Void”), others hear the heart-tugging melodies, both guitar and vocally based, bursting through the relentless guitar crunch attack that is the background of Balance and Composure’s sound. The title track is a definitive example of this, as we hear back and forth sections of weaving guitar melodies and punched out riffage pushed against smooth, yet not overly slick vocals. “Galena” follows a similar path, delicately balancing the gruff against the beautiful, something that so many bands try to do but can’t quite seem to completely figure out the way these guys have.
They can even tip-toe the line of post-hardcore, as the thunderous entry into “Patience” brings one of the many sections of angsty vocals to back the crunching guitars and explosive drumming. “I Tore You Apart in My Head” matches this vocal approach to a pulsing guitar to create an almost instantly memorable opening, and even gives us some less straightforward drumming to mix things up. This track isn’t all about the opening, as the track shifts into lush fretwork and sparse drumming before coming full circle on the intro’s more upbeat arrangements. But even more impressive the what they are doing is the fact that it happens almost seamlessly, making for a very natural sounding shift from point to point.
Not everything is quite as abrasive though. “Stonehands” is a beauty of a track, as the sullen vocals demand a singalong to the nearly unforgettable guitar lines. “Echo” is a much slower track than that, trudging through a droning guitar part as the vocals push the proceedings here. It doesn’t even really sound that out of place either, as the pulsing drums bolster the song and keep it from falling into being too drawn out. It might be one of the weaker tracks of the bunch, but it does help break up things and present a different viewpoint musically.
Separation isn’t just good, it’s surprisingly good. From first listen, you’ll be hooking into it’s calming, yet cathartic nature, and surely be bobbing your head and singing along after multiple listens. If you haven’t given this band a due chance, there is no better time than now.
5. I Tore You Apart in My Head
8. Progress, Progress
9. More to Me
12. Defeat the Low
Balance and Composure is an indie/emo band from Doylestown, PA. The band formed in the winter of 2007 and has released a 6 song EP entitled 'I Just Want To Be Pure', a 12'/CD EP entitled 'Only Boundaries' and most recently a self-titled split with Scranton, PA's Tigers Jaw.... read more