Pennsylvania’s emo five-piece Balance and Composure have returned, and this time with something a little different. Diverging almost completely from the lengthened, impassioned vocals, and the hazy, convoluted riffs of ‘Separation,’ and encompassing the fluidity and ambiguous sound of ‘The Things We Think We’re Missing’, third album ‘Light We Made’ is not necessarily the B&C many have so far adored, but it displays a further evolution of sound you can admire.
Muffled robotic vocals, subtle guitar usage, eerie chimes, and persistently tame drumming make up ‘For A Walk’, and it wouldn’t sound out of place on Netflix’s thrilling drama ‘Stranger Things’. Not only does it convey dissimilarity from their previous releases, but a uniqueness within the genre at present. Recent single, ‘Postcard’, is an album highlight with its clean, gradual percussion complementing Jon Simmons’ hypnotic vocals.
Opening track, ‘Midnight Zone’ begins with a textured, fuzzy tone, welcoming the gloomy, reverb trait that features continuously throughout ‘Light We Made’. However in contrast, ‘Loam’ is where the bands experimentation reaches a new level; a combination of incongruous auto-tuned vocals and hazy guitars prove to ineffective.
Nevertheless, B&C haven’t abandoned their alt-rock tendencies altogether. ‘Call It Losing Touch’ fuses ringing guitars with Jon Simmons’ signature lucid, solemn vocals. While ‘Fame’ highlights their trend to deliver steady, cathartic yet solid songs where Simmons’ vocals melt into the instrumental substance on offer.
Although some may disown Balance and Composure after hearing ‘Light We Made’; the urgency and screams of ‘Separation’ are long gone, others will welcome and appreciate their progression. The severe shift to a layered and experimental sound has its benefits, proving to be fluid and, eventually, rewarding.
‘Light We Made’ by Balance and Composure is released digitally on October 7th and physically on November 4th on Big Scary Monsters.
Words by Lucy Jones (@loo_say9)