Dear Chester, I only realised a few days ago that it’s nearly been a year …
In late 2016, Doylestown rockers Balance and Composure released their third studio album, Light We Made. At first listen you wouldn’t know it was a Balance and Composure album, at second listen you still wouldn’t know it was a Balance and Composure album, and finally at a third listen, the album info popped up and revealed that it is in fact a Balance and Composure record.
Change can be subtle, it can be obvious, and then it can be a kick in the chest when you aren’t looking. Every so often you need that kick in the chest to shake you up, and Light We Made certainly did just that. It’s uncomfortable, but promotes being daring and shattering status quo.
What we’ve come to know about Balance and Composure is that they release post-hardcore jams with the intensity of drinking five cups of coffee then jumping out of a plane. With the release of Light We Made, it strays far from this sound and introduces us to a synth-ridden atmospheric tone that doesn’t quite make sense after their previous albums. It is in no way a negative aspect, but just uncharacteristic of them. A change of sound can may actually grow their fan base as it seems to go after a completely different type of listener, but hopefully not enough to deter the rest. Are we dealing with an identity crisis though? Imaging a dreamier Balance and Composure may prove difficult for some, but making an assumption that they’ll stay with this style wouldn’t be fair as it’s just one album for now. Although it’s unknown why they had a sudden restyle of sound, the sonic depth of Light We Made is encouraging, and would be intriguing to hear in future releases.
Another aspect to consider is live sound. Not having heard any track off of Light We Made live, it’s going to be an experience to hear these tracks in the flesh upon their arrival in Australia. How will this album as a whole resonate with a crowd though? This is honestly concerning as the transition from The Things We Think We’re Missing to Light We Made could just not work. Again, I’ll have to give it a chance, but it is worrying nonetheless. It could be absolute dynamite though, and I’m hoping it throws any worry I have to the curb and stomps on it.
What we’ve come to know about Balance and Composure is that they release post-hardcore jams with the intensity of drinking five cups of coffee then jumping out of a plane.
Being a long time supporter of Balance and Composure it’s still tough to come to terms that this could be the new direction that the band is going, but maybe this is where they wanted their sound to go all along. Maybe they’re using this release as some type of musical Rorschach test to later develop a sound that uses both old and new. Finding a musical personality is challenging, but this could prove to change the personality of entire genre over the next year or so if others start to follow suit. Could you imagine a Title Fight dream pop record, or maybe a Touché Amoré synth rock release? Light We Made could very well have this affect on other bands that are looking to change it up stylistically, and just need that push to make it happen.
Not wanting to make the same album twice is what any band should strive for as it could get boring listening to the same style album after album. Has Balance and Composure strayed too far from the path? That’s for you to decide. You cannot deny their absolute respect for the music process though and music as an art, I dig that about this bunch.
Too often you get a band taking the easy way to an album and not thinking differently. What Balance and Composure did was not only redefine their sound, but surprise the hell out of us. Do you remember when Uma Thurman broke the fourth wall in Pulp Fiction, and shocked us all? Balance and Composure essentially did this with the Light We Made, but in a more musical sense. If this does in fact progress the genre as a whole then hell yeah, that’s stellar.
A stagnant genre is just boring and will eventually die, but Balance and Composure is doing their best to breakthrough to bigger ideas and it’s commendable. As your wrapping up your night and throwing back a few bevies with your friends, just remember that genre doesn’t matter anyway, but at the same time it does. What better way to throw a hammer in the machine than to produce and album that strays away from everything you know, well done boys, well done. I look forward to seeing how this wild set of Australian shows turns out. For now I’ll wait and wonder, and possibly play Parachute just one more time while blending it into to Postcard to see how it settles.