Review Summary: Balance and Composure at their most balanced and composed.
Somewhere in the nebulous gap between '90s-inspired grunge and emotive indie rock, Balance and Composure have managed to carve themselves a surprisingly distinct niche. Their now-trademark sound has always combined intricate melody that takes advantage of their three guitars to set the atmosphere for their angsty vocal delivery. Deep and pensive without becoming inaccessible, B&C's mournful but melodic approach seems to have found the sweet spot between vulnerability and aggression.
An impressively diverse record for a band who has more or less defined a stylistic box for themselves, the band's oscillation between hauntingly wistful melody and heavily distorted angst is driven expertly by the interaction between vocal and guitarwork, with one element feeding off and complementing the other in a manner rarely executed so fluidly for a relatively young band. The Things We're Missing
features a Balance and Composure that has complete and total confidence in their rendition of the myriad influences they draw from and emulate. It picks up from where Separation
left off: in the tumultuous emotional void of a relationship falling apart, and rather than formally offering closure, The Things We're Missing
delves more introspectively into the insecure, vulnerable, and frustrated psyche of a lonely soul failing to find companionship.
Tracks like “Parachutes,” “Back of Your Head,” and “Reflection” use melodic hooks to lure listeners into lyrical content that otherwise might drag too monotonously into melancholy. Similarly, other times B&C employ distorted and reverberating guitars alongside crisp drumming to round off less dynamic vocals. The Things We're Missing
's greatest strength is perhaps its cohesion; never in does the album feel like it relies too heavily on one element or another of the group's talents.
Gliding effortlessly from one sonic idea to the next, the album showcases a band that is mature, talented, and perfectly content to let each element of their sound contribute equally to the whole. Never does it feel like one musician is competing with another for virtuosity. As a result, The Things We're Missing
is wholly satisfying from the initial listen to the umpteenth replay. The layered and dynamic nature of Balance and Composure's sound makes for music that offers catharsis and gratification early and often, but also holds secrets that take a listener time to truly appreciate.
Overall, the album plays like the magnum opus of a tortured savant, too experienced and jaded to be wholly optimistic or innocent, but beautiful nonetheless in its self-awareness and honesty. From the piercing screams that highlight the chorus on “Parachutes” to the clean vocal cadence on “Tiny Raindrop,” and all of the variation in between, The Things We're Missing
offers rich soundscapes that populate a diverse and focused record whose main weakness may only be that all of the songs seem so solid that there is no apparent standout track.