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

On their sophomore album, The Things We Think We’re Missing, The Pennsylvania Alternative Rock quintet Balance and Composure have not only avoided the dreaded “sophomore slump” but have successfully expanded upon their original sound, maturing as a group without getting rid of their freshman charm and potential.

The album begins with a great divorced guitar intro on Parachutes, reminiscent of Circa Survive’s Blue Sky Noise, only a completely more aggressive wave length. Anthony Green makes a guest appearance on a later track, Keepsake, doing backup vocals.

Balance and Composure took a very strong direction with their three guitarists on Things, leaving behind the uniformity of Separation without losing their millennial-revival sound. Many of the unique, ambient guitar sounds that pervade the album can be attributed to the band’s recent sponsorship through fender.

Vocalist Jon Simmons has continued his vocal growth on Things, embracing his original croon and wine while dipping his feet into more extreme vocal runs, such as the throat-tearing “I’ll be scratching at the back door, won’t you let me in?, won’t you let me in? We both know what I came back for, won’t you let me in? Just let me in. Caught you looking out the window, dreaming what could be, then suddenly, got this eerie little tingle. Notice Me! Notice Me!” That draws far more emotion out of his voice than previous work and cuts in a much more raw sound, akin to Underoath vocalist Spencer Chamberlain.

While the beginning of the album enforces and shows were Balance and Composure shines, after the interlude Ella, the tracks begin to pick up a grungy almost desert rock tone through Cut Me Open, I’m Swimming and Reflection. It’s hard to believe that a group that personifies the sound of the early millennium

can so easily pick up vibes from music that is almost

two decades older, but after working with a  production team including Will Yipp (Circa Survive, Title Fight, The Wonder Years)  Brad Wood (Sunny Day Real Estate, Smashing Pumpkins) and  Emily Lazaar (Foo Fighters, Against Me!) who have worked with so many different alternative artists over the years, it comes as no shock.

Things is not only a great example of how a band can overcome the sophomore slumps but also the test of time that Alternative Rock/Punk stands up to. This album could have easily been jammed between the center console of someone’s mom’s minivan in 2003 during a mall trip, or sitting on the 2-inch screen of an iPod Mini along with Taking Back Sunday, Brand New and Story of the Year.

It’s eerie that group of kids 10 years behind the curve can not only embody the sounds of a decade so well, but can still make those sounds relevant today.