Balance and Composure
The Things We Think We're Missing


2.3
average

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
September 21st, 2013 | 112 replies | 21,687 views


Release Date: 09/10/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Numb.

One of the most interesting talking points about Balance and Composure’s latest album is that it brings the listener to a memorable point of their lives. Maybe I’m an anomaly for having a homogeneous blur of a childhood-- most of my peers probably have fond musical memories as kids, of blasting Nirvana in the car and hearing Smashing Pumpkins on the radio. But the difference is that those styles never particularly appealed to me. Even when I did come to an age where they made more sense-- grunge being the pissy step-child of alternative rock, for instance-- I never found myself too invested in those particular scenes. The Things We Think We’re Missing wears the influences of its past on its sleeve, but for someone like me who has always been fonder of the future’s promises, this album feels a bit too expired.

There’s a way to incorporate these alt. rock hybrids into a satisfying blend, and the key is emphasizing their dynamics. The Things We Think We’re Missing is a single musical statement, and sure, its uniformity is admirable to a point. But homogeneous records must go out of their way to be emotionally palatable, and by this album’s conclusion, it feels as if the same song and dance has been recreated a few too many times. This album is mid-tempo alternative rock, encased in hazy atmospherics and swirling reverb, and it’s the style of music that struggles to properly pace itself when being propped up by nothing else. This release is also counterintuitive in that it depends on atmospherics over melody. Case in point, it’s exceedingly rare for singer Jon Simmons to carry a melody that’ll really stick. He contributes to the music’s dim soundscape while never quite navigating it-- he’s either an unreliable captain or an overreaching crewman, and this ambiguity is clear enough in his nonchalant delivery. In songs like “Notice Me,” Simmons doesn’t seem to desire being noticed one bit. He and his band have some endgoal in mind, but for the life of me, I can’t put my finger on what. The song is most effective when it crashes out of existence by riding tidal waves of reverb, and at that point I’m interested to hear if Balance and Composure is going to lose its ***-- but no, “Notice Me” wraps itself up in an expectedly tidy and safe manner. So it goes.

The primary points carried forth on this release are the ones the band sounds the least enthusiastic about, which leads to a resoundingly disappointing follow-up to 2011’s Separation. I could sing to that album in the car; I could attach myself to it wholeheartedly. But with The Things We Think We’re Missing, I’m puzzled at how little there is to latch onto. The ride is airy, polished and ultimately unaffecting. Sometimes I convince myself I need to give it another go, that maybe I’m going about the process all wrong, but then it makes sense-- this album is tailored for Balance and Composure and only them. Some listeners have been through the same experiences the group has, having growed up on the reverb-laced grunge this album adores-- and so these fans find themselves tethered to the atmospheric aesthetic this album presents over its melodies. But for everyone else, this is dull and lifeless, lacking any definitive melody to provide meaning to this otherwise drab trip into alternative rock. While the band’s earlier music also treaded an exceedingly familiar stylistic tightrope, it wore its rigid production on its sleeve to brand itself a distinct identity. But this record is just safe music in a safe context, and I can’t bring myself to feel anything but numb to it.



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user ratings (269)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Mike Denison (2.5)
Missing something....

Wayne H. (4)
Balance and Composure at their most balanced and composed....

Alex Trinkner CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Won't you let me in?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2013



49791 Comments


but I still feel it

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2013



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3 | Sound Off

that is probably a reference to my summary, and probably a Linkin Park reference

am i right?

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Millstone
September 21st 2013



367 Comments


JENNIFER LAWRENCE

THAT IS ALL

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2013



49791 Comments


title fight

titlefightmeirl
September 21st 2013



659 Comments


close, it's a reference to title fight

ShitsofRain
September 21st 2013



5597 Comments


boom there it goes

Digging: Ben Sims - Fabric 73

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2013



7143 Comments


Woah, a review in which Jacob Royal courts controversy by handing out a significantly-lower-than-the-site's-mean rating!

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2013



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3 | Sound Off

I am as controversial as that one Death Grips album cover

not quite as veiny, though

ILJ
September 21st 2013



6617 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

dig the review. this album did next to nothing for me. definitely one of the bigger disappointments of the year

Digging: Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2013



49791 Comments


new release post-hardcore/pop-punk/metalcore albums with a 3.9-4 average are usually not good

witchxrapist
September 21st 2013



10934 Comments


band is just not good at full lengths

Digging: Stray From the Path - Our Oceania

breakingthefragile
September 21st 2013



2943 Comments


inb4 Linkin Park

Digging: Glassjaw - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know...

cvlts
September 21st 2013



8954 Comments


never understood the hype around these guys. oh well

OwMySnauze
September 21st 2013



748 Comments


"ARE YOU FEELING IT NOW MR KRABS?"

Digging: The Antikythera Mechanism - Pathos

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2013



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3 | Sound Off

At this rate, I only wonder what your first six comments were

OwMySnauze
September 21st 2013



748 Comments


Hey now, no need to worry. That seventh comment was my dumbest so far. Cheers for the call out.

OwMySnauze
September 21st 2013



748 Comments


I've been browsing Sputnik for years now but I finally decided to sign up. Figured I'd give it a try.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2013



10003 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3 | Sound Off

Cheers. For every 100 silly comments, there are 10 insightful ones. Makes it worth the trouble.

Millstone
September 21st 2013



367 Comments


Make the 10th one count, bro.

Millstone
September 21st 2013



367 Comments


Oh, and Jennifer Lawrence's titties. Again.



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