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Balance and Composure – Light We Made | Album Review

U.S. natives Balance and Composure have unveiled their brilliant new album, Light We Made.

Balance and Composure - Light We Made

Source: Album Artwork

Balance and Composure are not your typical rock band. There’s not a lot of artists in the genre who will happily enlist the help of electronics and let it overpower any other instrument or vocals at times, but this Pennsylvanian five-piece evidently know what they’re doing. You wouldn’t be wrong to compare them to the likes of early The 1975 or My Bloody  Valentine, decidedly indie bands, but there’s punk inflexion to Jon Simmons‘ vocals that just about keep it on the harder side of the fence. If anything, they’re embodying Brand New and Nirvana— paying homage to the 90’s grunge movement that kicked the shoegazing 80’s to the kerb.

The opening track, ‘Midnight Zone‘, is distorted electronics, faded vocals and a haunting bassline to start with. It truly is the kind of thing you’d hear at The Haçienda in 1984 before acid house took over, which would not surprise to confuse the average rock fan, wondering how Balance and Composure could even begin to be thrown into the same ballpark as rock legends. Alas, it may be independent, but it’s got the gritty, biting attitude which is almost expected of anyone comparable to Sunny Day Real Estate.

Spinning‘ continues in the same fashion, boasting strange but brilliant, clipped vocals on top of a simple melody. Later on, ‘For A Walk‘ is another particularly strong offering, showing off Simmons’ range which almost emulates the likes of Billie Joe Armstrong‘s, but in a much more obscured, mind-melting manner.

Then, ‘Postcard‘ is one of the only tracks that doesn’t rely heavily on electronic interruption. There are drum loops, sure, but it’s a much clearer delivery and showcases Balance and Composure’s ability to be versatile— to show they’re more than capable of fighting off monotony.

There’s no use trying to sell Light We Made to everyone, as it simply wasn’t made for the general rock public. Balance and Composure are clearly not stupid to think otherwise, hence why this album is crafted very carefully for a very specific, niche market. The record is genre-bending in any case, making it open not only to music fans who cite Jesse Lacey as their ultimate idol, but the more reserved indie population also.

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