Review Summary: The sound of growing up.
Balance and Composure - Separation
Growing up sucks. For me, it was the moment of no longer being a teenager that it hit me: the days of my adolescence were at an end. It wasn’t a fun experience; sure, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the childish pranks and the ridiculous banter but there was always that comfortable net of my youth that could catch me if I found myself neck deep in shi
t. Pennsylvanian act Balance and Composure are band that has known youth all too well. While still a fairly new band in terms of longevity, their EPs and past splits since 07 were indie anthems filled to the brim with catchy pop-punk inspired riffs and bursting with youthful enthusiasm. Kind of like younger version of Brand New or Taking Back Sunday, they weren’t necessarily as childish as some acts, yet always had a bright side that only a band that was out to have fun could have. Separation
is the album that see’s Balance and Composure growing up and maturing heavily: gone are the scratchy production techniques and gone are the subtle folky punk vibes that other bands like Tigers Jaw and Joyce Manor possess. Instead we see a much more polished sound; heavily reverbed vocals complete with the “oohs and ahhs” and an almost stadium-like sounding atmosphere and you know what? It sounds awesome. While going as far to reference acts like later Blink 182 and Angels and Airwaves might be stretching it, the heavily reverbed sound of “Echo” and “Stoneheads” shows just how far Balance and Composure go in their maturity. In leaps and bounds, Separation
is a much more sedated and relaxed sounding band than in any of their previous works.
However, the youthful playfulness of older Balance and Composure still makes its way onto Separation
and this works to their disadvantage. Tracks like the eponymously titled track and “I Tore You Apart In My Head” bring the seriousness of the album down and it tends to polarize the listen. Had Balance and Composure fully immerse themselves in their newfound growth Separation
could be stellar, but the conflicted themes and sounds of the album hamstring the listen on too many occasion. But at the end of the day, the Balance and Composure show surprising depth in their new album and the outcome of this is an extremely cleverly crafted album that makes us wonder just what exactly they are capable of doing in the future. Growing up might suck, but Balance and Composure make it seem easy and all too natural in their latest album.