Album Review: Balance and Composure, “The Things We Think We’re Missing.”

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It’s tough growing up. You spend all day working for little money and all night writing checks to pay your bills. A lot of hours are spent on Facebook stalking your old friends from high school, comparing their lives to yours. Worst of all, taking your pants off at a playground and running around isn’t cute anymore, it’s a felony. So when a band like Balance & Composure comes along and releases a record whose core message is “Screw Everything,” it’s not only lyrically refreshing, but personally satisfying to crank it up and just rock out for 48 minutes.

The Things We Think We’re Missing is the Doylestown, PA Alt -rock outfit’s second full length, following 2011’s Separation. It is a raw, hypnotic, and haunting album that features heavy influence from the early to mid 90s grunge and emo scenes. If you’re a fan of bands like Nirvana, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbreaker, or Jets to Brazil, you’ll find a sound that is familiar, but refined with B&C’s own unique brand of post-hardcore. It’s an album that is not only satisfying for people who have been following the band since its inception, but for people looking to get into a new sound with old tricks.

Each song is forcefully shoved into the face of the listener with powerful drums and loud instrumentals, with a mood that screams “listen to me.” One of my favorite songs on the album is the opening track, “Parachutes.” The band doesn’t pull any punches to start the album, with the vocals making a loud, broad introduction over a patterned melody and a rhythm of heavy guitar chords. “Tiny Raindrop” is another great track that will appease fans of older Balance & Composure. It isn’t as in-your-face as other songs on the record, but it maintains the apathetic, angsty mood of the album. “Notice Me” is the most head-bang worthy song on the album, especially when it breaks down into a myriad of screaming vocals and booming, impact guitars. It’s one of those tracks that make you want to punch a hole through a wall and yell at people to listen to you. Or maybe that’s just me.

“Reflection,” the first single from the EP, is a brilliant song written from the perspective of a scared man who wants people to fear him, reminiscent of your own teenage self telling yourself that no one will ever understand you. It’s one of those tracks that just makes you feel angst and angry like you were as a teenager, and I for one love it. The album only really slows down once with the acoustic “Dirty Head.” Though the song doesn’t fit with the other tracks individually, it fits in well with the album as a whole. If you thought the album would have a happy ending, however, prepare to be disappointed, as the final track, “Enemy,” is a haunting, rhythmic ballad that ends the album with an empty silence.

Balance & Composure have come a long way since they were just another up and coming Doylestown hardcore band (does anyone remember the Erection Kids? Because I remember the Erection Kids). With two albums now out, shows taking place on tours around the world, and an increasing interest in the new post-hardcore scene, expect The Things We Think We’re Missing to expose Balance & Composure to a broader audience than ever before. The album is beautifully composed, brilliantly written, and is a commanding reminder that delving into a fit of teenage angst is still sometimes the best way to deal with the world.

Highlight tracks: Parachutes, Tiny Raindrop, Notice Me

FFO: Nirvana, Title Fight, Thursday, Smashing Pumpkins, Sunny Day Real Estate, Texas is the Reason, and honestly anything else. Listen to the album and decide for yourself what it reminds you of.

Download The Things We Think We’re Missing from No Sleep Records at https://store.nosleeprecords.com/product/6701/the-things-we-think-were-missing

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