Balance and Composure – Light We Made

Pennsylvania Alternative crew Balance and Composure have been on the upward swing for sometime now. Their second album The Things We Think We’re Missing hit the top 60 in the Billboard charts, as well as debut Seperation being hailed as somewhat of a genre classic alongside Citizen’s Youth and Turnover’s Peripheral Vision. It’s clear now that Balance and Composure wanted to end up here, despite the recent mountains they had to climb to arrive. Their story started with the layered aggressive emo of their first LPslowly adding new textures and unique instrumental parts with sophomore effort The Things We Think… and now, stripping away the layers of hardcore in favor of shoegazey brilliance on latest release Light We Made. 

Midnight Zone is an uncharacteristic opener for the band, all whirring loops and smooth trip hop basslines. Jon Simmons’ vocals here are blissful, a definitive focal point for the album and one that helps steer it towards tranquil shores. Spinning is the first single from the record and continues the wash of sounds present on the opener, albeit picking up the pace slightly. It harnesses Basement vibes and crystal clear guitar tones, with the drums of Bailey Van Ellis pushed right up in the mix, providing spiky, rolling rhythms. Surprises come thick and fast on the band’s third record, with the dirty low end of For A Walk echoing Adore-era Smashing Pumpkins and Postcard, which upon early release, startled fans with its creative use of electronic drums. None of this though, manages to shake the consistency of the record and the dark, foggy feel that the band conjure up here.

The throwbacks to 80’s dream pop continues on the brilliant Echo & The Bunnymen esque riffs of Call It Losing Touch and even slight TTWTWM vibes with the urgency of Fame. Its clear that the recent, almost career-ending car accidents that the band experienced have taken a toll, the initial B & C sound remaining intact, yet embracing a gloom that is hard to ignore. Despite this, there is a coherency on Light We Made that echoes in the darker moments, showing a band undefeated by their near-death experience and brave enough to reinvent themselves in the face of it.

The final stretch of the record finds the band at it’s shimmering, ‘Cure meets Brand New’ best with Is It So Much To Adore. It’s a truly wonderful thing that under the deep, textured atmosphere of the album, the band can maintain pop hooks and also bring fresh sounds to table without compromising their vision. This is shown to no greater effect than on closer Loam. Much like the opening track, it ushers the band even further into uncharted territory, with effective use of auto-tune and subtle electronica, almost a hint at future direction.

Longtime fans may be surprised by such a heavy revision in sound here and even a little baffled by the reverb soaked melancholy where there was once roars of angst. Even so, with Light We Made, B & C showcase a more focused guise and with the strength of the material on offer, it’s a testament to their ability to endure and progress their craft. Light We Made is a bold, indelible statement from a band unwilling to be shaken by misfortune.

Balance and Composure to Release New Album

US Alt-Rockers Balance and Composure are set to release new album Light We Made this November. The album is the band’s third release and was produced by Will Yip (Pity Sex, Nothing.) Light We Made follows hugely acclaimed US Billboard Independent album The Things We Think We’re Missing. The first single from the record Spinning has received airplay on The Radio 1 Rock Show.

Following the band’s second album, a car accident involving drummer Bailey Van Ellis took its toll on the band, Van Ellis mentioning “We realized we almost died and thought maybe we should chill on the touring thing for a bit” as well as admitting the event effected the recording process – “It was definitely an eye opening experience, and it had an effect on the time we took with this record.”

Balance and Composure will be touring the US through October and November, with UK and European live plans to be announced very soon.

Light We Made is out via Big Scary Monsters on November 4th and the tracklisting for the record is below.

1. Midnight Zone
2. Spinning
3. Afterparty
4. For A Walk
5. Medicore Love
6. Postcard
7. Call It Losing Touch
8. Fame
9. Is It So Much To Adore?
10. Loam