Review Summary: If I was to say that love is what makes us aim to kill, then I'd aim it toward the sky, cause we don't know why or what can make us feel.
Balance and Composure have certainly made a name for themselves since releasing I Just Want To Be Pure
in 2007, acquiring mostly positive acclaim for their first full length entitled Separation
which was released just over a year ago. For a band that is seemingly having little conflict in reaching out to more than just their overwhelmingly dedicated and almost cult-like fanbase, Balance went into the studio in mid-2010 to record an EP that, while firmly rooted in it's influences, would go on to be seemingly overlooked in the hype surrounding Separation
There's something almost desperate about the unforgiving and brooding tone that frontman Jon Simmons gives off, as the first minute of opener "Kaleidoscope" soars in and out of monumental hooks and fast paced Your Favorite Weapon
-esque rock, not hesitating in any attempt to keep the listener interested. Whether it be the frequently used layered vocals, the utilization of the often risky choice of 3 guitarists, or the almost TOO straightforward lyrics, Balance have made it clear that they are here to be taken seriously and that they are not to be confused with any of their peers. Miles ahead of everyone that is currently in their "genre," Balance have crafted 4 songs that are most certainly worth your time.
While "Kaleidoscope," in it's own right, is a monumental opening track, the pinnacle of this release begins with sophomore track "Burden." This song begins with a Daisy
-esque guitar hook that foreshadows the mysteriously bitter nature of the five minutes to come. What makes "Burden" so immaculate is the vaguely haunting content within the lyrics, with lines such as:
And you should of seen the way my eyes burned in disbelief
And I let them heat until the flames burst on right out of me
Hard to believe that I won't forget
About the burden buried deep inside my chest.
And I can't forget the night I destroyed both of our heads
This becomes a re-occurring theme of "Burden," as it beats those lines into your brain through 12/8 time signatures and infectiously catchy swing-time guitar leads. "Burden" never reveals specifically what Simmons is talking about, but it's better for that very reason, giving the listener reason to play it a million times to further comprehend it's mysterious nature. Many bands fail while attempting to utilize 3 guitarists, but Balance gives every one of them it's own strongpoint and purpose in every song it's accented. "Twenty Four" and "Rope" both come across as desperate and straightforward, using the "soft/loud" formula to their advantage near flawlessly. "Twenty Four" floats in and out of stadium caliber 90's grunge until a build-up creeps into the song about halfway in, obliviously changing the mood of the song from being anthem-y to the sound that Balance have created for themselves.
Attempting to pick out an "album highlight" from this release is near impossible, as every song is amazing in it's own right. Could it be the flawless transition into "Lost all sense in hoping for the best, another brother never seen again" in "Twenty Four?" Or the massive instrumental break in "Rope" that subtly reminds us all of The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me
? The answer is up to you to decide. This album is flawless in it's ability to make such a massive statement in what is a seemingly short 4 songs, but it's cohesiveness and sincerity will undoubtedly make whoever allows it to come back for more. This split is a bitter album, but one that will be forever remembered amongst the greats of this genre.