Review Summary: Catharsis at its best.
We all feel sad from time to time. Perhaps you ask yourself if you'll ever know happiness or whether or not you'll escape loneliness. Or, maybe, you wonder how you are meant to carry on. These are themes that the Doylestown, PA band Balance and Composure explore on their debut EP, I Just Want To Be Pure. The six track EP was released by the post-hardcore act in 2008. Since then, Balance and Composure have released several EPs, splits, and two full length studio albums. The five-piece band are set to release their third full length album, Light We Made, on October 7th via Vagrant Records.
The EP begins with the title track. It's as if Balance and Composure are declaring that this is who they are and this is what they do. I Just Want To Be Pure is almost entirely instrumental, save for some incoherent vocals towards the end of the track. With its dark and gritty nature, this song sets the mood for the rest of the EP.
The next song up, Weakman, Weakboy, relies heavily on its lyrical narrative. The song examines a stereotypical father/son relationship. You know, the one in which the father is emotionally distant, leaving the son to battle his demons on his own. The lyrics seem to imply that if the two simply spoke to each other that things would otherwise be peachy keen. Too easy, right?
Alone For Now, is, by far, the strongest song on the EP. What makes this song great is the way the music and vocals build up. Slow to start, the guitar, bass, and drums roll into a rhythmic beat that slow down just a touch when vocals are introduced. Vocalist, Jonathan Simmons, sounds damn near despondent. Instead of singing, he is more or less saying the words in the most monotone of fashion. As the chorus begins, Simmons breaks from the monotony, shouting, “Take me to a place where I don't know anyone. Leave me alone for now. I've grown sick of every face that I've known. This keeps me up at night.” Here, the emotion becomes apparent. His shouts are like cries for help; just begging to be heard. The music becomes more intricate as it builds to the bridge. Sounding completely exasperated, Simmons howls, “I can't go on. I'll break, I'll fold. It's got to be this air that's killing me. I know alone is all I've known and it’s old and I’m cold, yeah, but it doesn't phase me.” Alone For Now is Balance and Composure at their purest.
The second half of I Just Want To Be Pure is a bit more subdued, but that doesn't stop these guys from throwing out some time changes in Waiting, Thinking, Giving Up and Chapter 20. With that, it gives a bit of variance to Balance and Composure's repertoire.
I Just Want To Be Pure is in essence its title. It’s raw and honest. There is a level of catharsis that runs through this entire EP. You may still wonder if you can deal with all the hardships life throws at you, but you've got to remind yourself to keep your head up and know that things can't get any worse.