There’s no denying that Balance and Composure has been making solid music their entire existence as a band. With every release, these Doylestown, PA rockers have progressed and grown immensely as musicians and artists. With the release of the debut 2011 LP, Separation, Balance and Composure made their mark in the indie/punk rock scene. The mixture of ambient and aggressive vibes present on the record set them apart from any other band in their scene. The split with Braid in early 2013 brought a whole new sound and approach to the table. It seemed that Balance and Composure had taken a more progressive rock route. With the sound present on that split in mind, I was extremely curious to see how The Things We Think We’re Missing was going to turn out.
The record starts with “Parachutes,” which is nothing too unfamiliar if you were a fan of the band prior to this release. Although the progressed sound is familiar, I was surprised by how aggressive the leading track was. It’s a very in-your-face way to open a record. “Lost Your Name” keeps the pace going, but with a few more ambient riffs thrown into the mix. Already, I am feeling like the record is one big melting pot composted of Separation and the splits with Tigers Jaw and Braid. Although the sound feels nostalgic to old Balance and Composure material, the progression keeps things fresh. Track three, “Back of Your Head,” slows things down a bit. Will Yip really brought out the loud side of this band a lot more with The Things We Think We’re Missing. The chorus in “Back of Your Head” is a prime example of this. “Tiny Raindrop,” in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful songs Balance and Composure has ever written. The lyrics in this song really paint a vivid image in your head. Four tracks in, I find myself thinking that this is probably the best Balance and Composure material to date.
“Notice Me” really shows off the aspect of having three guitarists. Sonically, this song is one of my favorites. It feels as if the guitars just dance with one another the entire track. “Ella” is a nice interlude that eventually seeps into “Cut Me Open” – the longest song on The Things We Think We’re Missing. The track houses all of the styles present on the record in a very well-thought-out way. “Reflection” is definitely the well-deserved lead single. The song just simply sounds gigantic. After hearing a song that sounds so big and unreal, you are brought back to reality by “I’m Swimming.” This song feels very dreamy, if you will. It also has one of the most memorable choruses on the record. Keeping that same vibe is “When I Come Undone,” which has some of the most interesting drumming out of the entire tracklist.
Track eleven is the dark-sounding acoustic “Dirty Head”. The raw style of this song is something special; you can really feel the emotion in the vocals. “Keepsake” is another upbeat, ambient, loud rock song that keeps your head bobbing. It also happens to have some incredible harmonies provided by Circa Survive’s Anthony Green. When I first heard he was going to have some vocals on the record, I assumed he would have a stand-alone part. I was overwhelmed by how well the two vocalists harmonized and created this very unique feel. The Things We Think We’re Missing sends you off with “Enemy.” It’s a roller coaster of a song that starts off pretty calm, but sends you straight into a build up that peaks around the middle of the track. After its climax, it gradually sends you back down to the calm world that it began in. Overall, a very good way to end the record.
By the end of The Things We Think We’re Missing, there are a couple things that are for sure: the record flows very nicely, Balance and Composure sounds bigger than ever, prior fans will be blown away and the band made the smartest progression of their career. The record is packed full of those nostalgic Balance and Composure head-bangers, but also brings some of the most beautiful riffs in music today. It’s a very consistent record. Balance and Composure has yet again progressed immensely while sticking to their roots. The Things We Think We’re Missing is guaranteed to show up in a lot of people’s top records of 2013. This album couldn’t have turned out any more perfect.