Review Summary: A forgotten dream
Nightmares aside, there are really only two kinds of dreams: there’s the kind where you vividly remember the details the next morning, and there are those instances where you know you dreamt something
, but can’t remember for the life of you what it was. If Light We Made
was a dream, it would be an indistinct, forgotten fantasy by the time your eyes adjusted to the dawn’s sunlight. In an attempt to create a more hazy, ethereal listening experience, Balance and Composure’s third effort falls victim to complete boredom. It’s not that their shift in sound is completely unexpected – The Things We Think We’re Missing
flirted with more expansive and dreamy song structures – but their third full length is missing a key ingredient that made their past efforts so convincing: passion.
On their sophomore release, Balance and Composure found a nice harmony between their gruff demeanor and a much softer approach, but Light We Made
misses the mark entirely. The frustrating thing is, it still sounds like Balance and Composure, but it’s as if they needlessly neutered everything interesting from their sound. It may sound harsh, but there’s almost nothing to get excited about with the band’s foggy and uninteresting return. Even during its better moments, the album is anchored down by weird, ineffective vocal effects and a stubborn refusal to progress. ‘Mediocre Love’ and ‘Is it so Much to Adore?’ could have been decent tracks, but are far too distracting with glitchy, repetitive spoken word snippets that are about as effective as a knife in a gun fight.
You can’t blame them for trying, though. ‘Midnight Zone’ finds the band tinkering with several dream-inducing vocal styles that sound nice enough, but even the variety can't completely make up for the lifeless tone throughout the song. If any track manages to escape the album’s uninspired sound, ‘Postcard’ is one of them. Though it can’t hold a candle to their debut, vocalist Jon Simmons follows up some droney vocals with a line that actually carries a strong sense of passion and conviction: faint and numb / you keep my head unsteady and my hands shake / fought another day, and now / you wait until I’m standing in your landscape.
Like much of the album, the song harbors a sense of repetition, but it’s done in a much more natural way that feels more akin to the well-balanced The Things We Think We’re Missing.
There’s nothing outright terrible about Light We Made
, it’s just not a very engaging album. I have no doubts the band’s latest effort would make for some decent background music with its inoffensive and light arrangements, but it’s a pretty lifeless listening experience for anyone who knows what Balance and Composure are capable of. A few rays of light cut through the murky and mediocre experience, but when all is said and done, Light We Made
is like that dream you struggle to remember in the morning: forgotten.