Having spent much of their short career being categorized alongside the likes of Title Fight and the recent “Wave” of neo-post-hardcore, Balance & Composure turn out to be a pretty complimentary face for alt-rock in 2013. All thoughts of the five piece as being your average Warped Tour friendly band are crushed with just one listen to the arena-baiting rock of TTWTWM. Thirteen tracks long, angst ridden and fist pump inspiring, Balance & Composure’s second release can provide the perfect soundtrack to angry adolescents and adults, the world over.
TTWTWM is recognizable as a step up from its predecessor, Separation. Where their debut did little to stand out from the crowd, this time around every aspect of their sound is that bit… more. The choruses are catchier, the lyrics are angstier, vocals are stronger and the band are tighter. ‘Parachutes’ instantly displays the band’s grungier side. Blistering and intricate, simultaneously, the track sets the tone for an album that’s influenced in equal parts by Sunny Day Real Estate and early nu-metal. Highlights such as the acoustic ‘Dirty Head’ and the Thrice-like anthem of ‘Cut Me Open’ are more enjoyable than the majority of songs the alt-rock world has created recently and show their more subtle side.
That’s not to say the record doesn’t have its problems. Sometimes, thirteen songs feels like a very long running time. Tracks like ‘When I Come Undone’ and ‘Tiny Raindrop’ are in a similar vein to one another and are both forgettable. It seems that if Balance & Composure put less on the record, than maybe there would be more to like. Another issue is the lyrics. Whilst their angsty lack of pretence is refreshing, some of the lines are cringeworthy. The clumsy pubescent poetry of ‘Notice Me’’s “I’m the spider in your room/ and I got eight eyes all on you” is a prime example of where a little more cop on would have done the band endless favours.
Balance & Composure have released an album that should push them into the mainstream. Whilst the idea of a modern alt-rock band with actual passion or talent may seem like an esoteric idea to our generation, they have created music that manages to strike the perfect balance between accessibility and integrity.