Reviews Balance and Composure Separation

Balance and Composure


Separation is not a complicated album nor is it very diverse, yet Balance & Composure have managed to create a record that truly sets them apart from their peers. While that in itself is quite an accomplishment, what is astonishing is the fact that this is the bands debut full length.

Though the name Balance & Composure may not stir immediate name recognition, they aren’t exactly a new band either. Formed in 2007, they’ve kept a quiet presence in the PA scene releasing only two EP’s and keeping a minimal touring schedule. This of course has all changed with the release of Separation, an album that has drawn comparisons to contemporary greats such as Brand New and Manchester Orchestra. I think the critics are a bit hasty in those comparisons, but it’s clear Balance & Composure carry a great deal of potential.

The beauty of Separation is in its simplicity as it avoids the complex patterns and wide array of influences plaguing many of their peers and instead relies on the straight forward grunge tinged indie rock that got them here. Though the lack of dynamics can make for a dull album at times, it’s hard not to be pulled into the rich personal experience that they create. It’s clear from the onset it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows as the album opens with the line, “Found out everyone is shallow / No depth / The ugly seem to follow,” and continues with this bleak outlook for the majority of the tracks. As dreary as they may be, the lyrical approach sounds honest as Jonathan Simmons and Andrew Slaymaker switch between abrasive emotional shouts and gritty vulnerable melodies with a sense of urgency. This is all complimented by the raw, unpolished production of Brian Mcternan.

This is a great debut release for the band but I can’t help feeling slightly letdown. Considering how much potential this band seems to posses, I feel Separation could have been a lot more. As stated above, many have already started comparing Separation to Brand New’s Daisy but that seems like quite a stretch. Where Brand New are consistently breaking boundaries and expanding their sound, Balance & Composure haven’t really done anything but refine the sound we heard on their first two EP’s. Separation will be regarded as one of the best releases of the year, as it should be, but Balance & Composure are capable of a lot more.

8.0 / 10Chad Raynard
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