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Balance and Composure – The Things We Think We’re Missing

Becci Stanley


Storming from the underground music scene in 2011 with groundbreaking release Separation, the Pennsylvanian group had some huge, spacey boots to fill. Against the odds, they have succeeded in making such a flawless album look like a muddled together mess with their newest release, which paints an intricate picture comprising of experimentation, atmospheric hooks, psychedelic interludes and something out of this world.

Opening track Parachutes is a full blown assault of noise and passion, it jumps straight into the action with repetitive driving chords above brutal pounds on the bass drum and symbols before slowing down in brief sparks before vocals louder than ever before tear through the mix with a frenzy, breaking new ground with a more hardcore feel to their already eclectic edge.

This rolls elegantly into Lost Your Name with a spine-chilling beginning like wind through a tunnel before clashing into a softer ode. The visceral vocals still remain yet tinkling chords and soft drumming, even with the occasional harmonic vocals create an easy-going melody, much like third track Back of your Head. The latter mixes sombre vocals whining against echoing, steely guitars and pattering drums before reaching an eventual, hardened crescendo yet still holding a melodic tempo all the way through.

Notice Me and Cut Me Open upon first listen both sounded like very run of the mill tracks, but on repeat they began to stand out. They both have psychedelic qualities with echoing vocals and instruments alike, which is made even stranger with gang vocals and brief bursts of riffs reminiscent of Nu-Metal (yeah seriously, it’s the strangest thing!). The repeated change of tempo also throws you off, as soon as you think you have gotten into it and understand the way the track is unfolding it evolves into a completely different mode.

Other highlights include Reflection for its hooks and vocals which are reminiscent of Separation but with more power, I’m Swimming with its fast and punky intro that sways like a storm from a slow moving current to a fast and visceral whirlpool of aggression; and lastly but not least Dirty Head, with its slow and solemn tempo like a funeral dirge with vocals that sound as if they were recorded in a bathroom. It’s this rough quality which makes it stand out, it’s a homage to the boys’ roots and works so well amongst such a crafted piece.

Final track Enemy sums up the album and the bands transformation perfectly. It flows over a range of styles from a Sci-Fi-esque intro with crooning vocals before plunging into dirty hardcore riffs and ear-drum bursting vocals. Balance and Composure are truly a band of two halves battling for the forefront, yet this conflict always results in something beautiful, something heartfelt and something totally different to what came before.


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