Braid/ Balance And Composure - Split
Record Label: No Sleep Records
Release Date: February 26, 2013
What happens when two, very different, giants come together for the sake of mankind? They release a behemoth of a split EP that confirms all of the reasons any adolescent listened to emo music, at any stage between 1993 and 2013.
Neither Braid nor Balance And Composure need an introduction. Both bands are beloved by their respective scenes and are one of the best at what they do. Whilst Balance And Composure are certainly a band of my generation, a band whom I have grown up alongside, it’s with sadness that I say I never had the chance to witness Braid the first time around. So, upon hearing that one of my favourite bands of today, and another of yesteryear were releasing a split together, I was duly stoked. No matter what this split holds within it, it’s undeniable that this is one of the most exciting releases of the year. Whether it’s the modern pop punkers and fans of “The Wave” or the awkward emo kids of the 90s, the two bands of this split have fans from all ends of the spectrum and this is a release to bridge the gap between fans of all sorts. However, does it work? Does bringing two bands from very different time frames, but with similar agendas, together lead to a musical success or does it have the same effect as a confused Doctor Who character bumping into themselves earlier in their timeline? What do you think? It’s two of the greatest bands of the genre. Of course it’s bloody awesome.
This four track split EP serves three purposes. Firstly, it’s displays proof that Braid are just as relevant now as ever before. Secondly, it shows a passing of the candle of sorts to Balance And Composure. Thirdly, and most importantly, it gives to the world four excellent new songs. The split kicks off with Braid’s “Lux”; an upbeat, snappy track. It’s almost a definite at this point that Braid aren’t going to recreate Frame & Canvas anytime soon, with "Lux" having more in common with Bob Nanna’s Hey Mercedes days, than the band’s original sound, however despite what the bemoaning enemies of Closer To Closed said, this isn’t a bad thing. The band sound truly invigorated and fresh and if they stayed the exact same as they were before, there wouldn’t have been a point in their return. “Lux” is a jerky, memorable track. Although lacking in the twinkles that have become synonymous with modern emo, it’s very much a track of today and Nanna’s voice is wonderfully distinct. “Many Enemies”, the second Braid track of the release is quite different. Chris Roach gets a turn at vocals this time around and it makes for a very different sound. His huskier, shakier vocals make for a heavier sound and the song is shrouded in atmospheric riffage. However, it’s just as catchy as its predecessor, if a little more reminiscent of Braid’s earlier sound. The end of the track turns into emo’s answer to Arcade Fire’s “No Cars Go” and, strangely, it works to leave the listener dying for more Braid music to bless their ears with.
The Balance And Composure half of procedures are, funnily enough considering their split-mates reputation as leaders of early emo, the more emotive, serious side of the coin. “You Can’t Fix Me” is excellent, and quite possibly one of the best tracks in the Balance & Composure arsenal. Both subtly catchy and wonderfully epic, the track displays Balance And Composure as a truly mature band. Jon Simmons’ vocals are excellent and developed immensely since the band’s last release. His voice manages to be heavy and vulnerable simultaneously and the track facilitates his emergence as one of the best singers of his scene. “Say” is along similar dark lines and is quite slow paced. As with the previous track, Balance And Composure seem to be favoring a calmer sound and it suits them all the better. It’s incredible to see just how much this band has matured in such a short period of time.
In a way, this split is representative of how this genre has transformed over the years. The Braid half is far more laid back and light-hearted than Balance And Composure’s intense take on the sound. However, far from creating a generation gap, the split contrasts the two bands perfectly and shows exactly why emo is a genre that never gets boring and is suited to meet all moods and types of fans. Hopefully, this split signals new, exciting chapters in the lives of the two bands, both of whom we’ve still got so much more to look forward to from. It’s hard to think of any bands more loved by their respective scenes than Braid and Balance And Composure, and this split can only further alleviate that love, as well as bring the two fan-bases closer together by introducing them to chapters of the scene’s formation that they had never delved into before. The Braid and Balance And Composure Split is exactly why I fell in love with emo music, and why so many before and after me did too. Absolutely wonderful.
Great review! Braid's half is excellent as well as B&C's although it took awhile for it to grow on me. I like B&C's sound on this but I hope on their next full length they don't ditch their aggressive vocals completely because I feel as if this split somewhat lacks the emotion of some of their other releases, but B&C really can't go wrong on anything they release.
I'm so glad we're back in an era where you can openly admit online that you like emo music without as much of the distasteful and irrelevant self-harm jokes. Although YouTube and "real-life" still have the uninformed.
Two great bands, who put together an awesome split. Loving this.