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Balance and Composure - The Things We Think We're... Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 9
Production 9
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 90%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.3
Musicianship 9.33
Lyrics 9.3
Production 9.29
Creativity 9.16
Lasting Value 9.28
Reviewer Tilt 9.35
Average: 93%
Inside AP.net

Balance and Composure - The Things We Think We're...

Reviewed by: Thomas Nassiff (09/08/13)
Balance and Composure - The Things We Think We're Missing
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Record Label: No Sleep Records


When you hear a record like this and you're going to write about it, you really want to open up with some grandiose, sweeping statement that sets the tone for the next few paragraphs. I mean, thatís what weíre here for, album reviewers. To tell you that Balance and Composure wrote our album of the year, or whatever. Well, lists are unimportant, and album reviews are glorified blogs. And I have no sweeping statement for you, because The Things We Think Weíre Missing leaves me Ė yes, me, a 22-year-old with a keyboard and reliable Internet connection Ė completely speechless.

The Things We Think Weíre Missing is a significant record. Itís significant in the fact that itís a new full-length album from one of the most beloved bands in our little community, coming at us in hotly anticipated fashion. Itís significant in the fact that this is the album that will provide Balance and Composure with a launching pad to leave this little community and move along to...wherever the fuck this band is going. Somewhere bigger with more ears listening. Itís a record that has true lasting value, the kind you feel in your bones; the kind where you know it doesnít matter how many times you hear a song like "Lost Your Name," because itíll never feel played out. You know what I mean. You know the songs that youíve listened to thousands of times but youíll still never skip when they come up on a playlist. There are lots of those here.

When I reviewed Separation, I wrote that Balance and Composure took their self-earned standards, the ones they earned by releasing a great EP called Only Boundaries, burnt those standards to the ground and wrote a book on how their genre should be done. It makes me feel stupid when a band forces me to write the same thing twice Ė but The Things We Think Weíre Missing completely overshadows Separation in most every way. It sounds terrific (you can thank producer Will Yip), its songs are better-crafted, Jon Simmonsí lyrics are more memorable and as a holistic entity, it acts as a wrecking ball determined to leave an impact upon the listener.

I expected something more subdued than Separation, something where Simmons & Co. explored the quieter parts of their sound rather than the deafening parts. I was completely wrong. B&C is louder, grittier, grungier, sadder, angrier and greater on LP2. And again, this word comes up: Itís a more holistically sound album.

Opener "Parachutes" proves that at its core, this band is still playing sad music that sounds angry. "A roller coaster ride in the dark to places I donít want to go / Parachutes to break my fall, tangled up in deeper thought / Make falling faster, Iím falling faster." Simmons starts that line with fiery, throaty yells then gets into his twangy, softer delivery before the band picks up into an avalanche of a chorus. "Lost Your Name" is a head-banger in every sense of the term. Iím convinced it was written to sound great on the record, only to be put to shame in a live setting. Simmons delivers an intense cry of, "I lost my head / I lost my heart" that kinda feels like, "Fuck what you told me / It all leads to smoking alone in my room in the end" felt like when I first heard it Ė simply begging to be played louder. When the track does slow down in its bridge, it does so in a pulsing, patient, calm-before-the-storm manner while drummer Bailey Van Ellis chases us back into a blistering pace.

The midtempo "Tiny Raindrop" has makings of an arena-sized alt-rock single; itís perhaps the song that will best serve as a set opener when this band has to fill bigger rooms on the road with Coheed and Cambria. It evaporates into the muddy guitars of "Notice Me," which glistens as the high point of The Things We Think Weíre Missing. The track has some of Simmonsí most emotive lyricism: "Canít seem to wash you from my sheets, now you know where I lay my head / Iím the spider in your room; I've got 8 eyes all on you / So stop pretending, you donít mean the things you say." The track later implodes on itself, Van Ellisí cymbals crashing endlessly as Simmons repeats, "Notice me / notice me / notice me" until, exhausted, youíre ushered into the instrumental interlude "Ella."

I could waste away another 1,000 words describing to you every song on this album Ė there isnít really one worth skipping over. "Reflection" takes a sleepy melody and indents it into your brain courtesy of a nasty rhythm section; "Keepsake" takes Anthony Greenís guest vocals and shows off several aspects of what this band does so well; and closer "Enemy" shuts the door on this record in a way that requires immediate playback. The recordís only soft spot comes in the double-shot of the dragging "When I Come Undone" followed by the nakedly acoustic "Dirty Head" Ė but even these slightly weaker tracks make perfect sense in the flow of the record.

We again circle back to the holistic and cohesive nature of The Things We Think Weíre Missing. This is a record that deserves to be listened to in its full context because while there are some great standalone tracks, it shines brightest when presented as a single product. Itís a sad album, itís an angry album, itís slow and itís fast. Jon Simmons and the rest of this group confront getting older while playing a brand of rock and roll that has its roots in appealing to young people, but at the same time transcends age and demographics.

Rock and roll music confronts struggle, life, death, love, loss, relationships of all types, situations real and imaginary. We listen and strongly relate to stories told through the eyes of characters weíll never meet, filtered through the lens of someoneís mind which weíll never fully understand. Itís a beautiful thing this music presents us with, the chance to explicitly escape reality while simultaneously being our best weapon to confront it. While electronic music and radio pop find themselves embedded, fixed in the permanent present...rock and roll knows no hour. Itís as limitless and boundless as anything in this world can be, and The Things We Think Weíre Missing illuminates that beautifully.

This is what those album reviewers mean, when they talk about setting the bar high.

9/10

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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 219
09:47 PM on 09/08/13
#2
ffadam
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Good review. Still not sure that it's better than Separation yet but I guarantee that people will get on at you about the lyrics. Well written though.
09:52 PM on 09/08/13
#3
donwagenblast
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It's funny, I think the exact same way about this album in terms of what it will do for the band's career, but disagree with you on a bunch of other points. Very, very interesting review of a very, very interesting album. It grows on me a little more with every listen.
09:58 PM on 09/08/13
#4
Fool
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I like the record a lot but I miss some of the heavy hitting tracks from Separation like I Tore You Apart In My Head and Patience. I also had trouble at first because of the amount of songs that started with feedback and the guitar arpeggios. It just made it tough to separate things during my first few listens.
10:06 PM on 09/08/13
#5
Sanzen
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I like the record a lot but I miss some of the heavy hitting tracks from Separation like I Tore You Apart In My Head and Patience. I also had trouble at first because of the amount of songs that started with feedback and the guitar arpeggios. It just made it tough to separate things during my first few listens.
Gotta say, I have this complaint as well.

It all sounds very same-y, but it's not all bad considering the quality of the music in general.
10:07 PM on 09/08/13
#6
smowashere
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I love Tiny Raindrop so much. I'll have to listen to the album a bit more to warm up to the rest of it.
10:07 PM on 09/08/13
#7
Jack Appleby
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Great, great review.

Mentioned this in a thread somewhere, but one thing I think is important to mention about this record - it doesn't 'replace' Separation for me in any way. I love both records, for different reasons.

The opposite is true of Thrice's final LPs. I really enjoyed Beggars - but when Major/Minor released, Beggars became...less. The latter record stayed within the world of the former, so much so that it almost made Beggars irrelevant to me (that's an exaggeration, but I certainly listen to it much less now).

Separation and The Things We Think We're Missing hit different notes for me. The earlier album is more raw and unrefined, while the new is more polished and explores the more bombastic sides of B&C. Both will continually receive regular plays, and I'm not sure I have a favorite between them.

Hopefully that made sense.
10:10 PM on 09/08/13
#8
Thomas Nassiff
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Great, great review.

Mentioned this in a thread somewhere, but one thing I think is important to mention about this record - it doesn't 'replace' Separation for me in any way. I love both records, for different reasons.

The opposite is true of Thrice's final LPs. I really enjoyed Beggars - but when Major/Minor released, Beggars became...less. The latter record stayed within the world of the former, so much so that it almost made Beggars irrelevant to me (that's an exaggeration, but I certainly listen to it much less now).

Separation and The Things We Think We're Missing hit different notes for me. The earlier album is more raw and unrefined, while the new is more polished and explores the more bombastic sides of B&C. Both will continually receive regular plays, and I'm not sure I have a favorite between them.

Hopefully that made sense.
Yeah i can see where you're going with this and agree with it.

I think "When I Come Undone" should have been a B-side...really my only major gripe with the album. In context it's whatever and as a standalone it's not very worthwhile.
10:17 PM on 09/08/13
#9
dtomczak
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Great, great review.

Mentioned this in a thread somewhere, but one thing I think is important to mention about this record - it doesn't 'replace' Separation for me in any way. I love both records, for different reasons.

The opposite is true of Thrice's final LPs. I really enjoyed Beggars - but when Major/Minor released, Beggars became...less. The latter record stayed within the world of the former, so much so that it almost made Beggars irrelevant to me (that's an exaggeration, but I certainly listen to it much less now).

Separation and The Things We Think We're Missing hit different notes for me. The earlier album is more raw and unrefined, while the new is more polished and explores the more bombastic sides of B&C. Both will continually receive regular plays, and I'm not sure I have a favorite between them.

Hopefully that made sense.
Completely agree with you. Both albums are deserving of replays for different reasons, and I would say that this is just another great album by a great band rather than an album that transcends its predecessor to the point where it becomes irrelevant.
10:17 PM on 09/08/13
Max_123
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this album completely blew me away, i always liked this band but didn't ever really revisit their albums but i've already listened to this at least 5 times
10:17 PM on 09/08/13
Fool
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Yeah i can see where you're going with this and agree with it.

I think "When I Come Undone" should have been a B-side...really my only major gripe with the album. In context it's whatever and as a standalone it's not very worthwhile.
But that chorus is so great. This was probably in my top three after my first few listens.
10:40 PM on 09/08/13
thenewline
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Already in love with the record. Glad I was able to find it still available on vinyl. It reminds me a lot about how I felt about SDRE's "The Rising Tide". I hear different things on every listen.
11:05 PM on 09/08/13
Steve Alcala
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Great review sir
11:26 PM on 09/08/13
rushour144
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Good review. Still not sure that it's better than Separation yet but I guarantee that people will get on at you about the lyrics. Well written though.

I felt that way until the 4th listen, and then it just hit me how amazing this album is. It's honestly one of the finest albums I have ever had the privilege of listening too. I love Seperation with a passion, but this album blows it out of the water; but with that said, Seperation still reigns supreme over most albums out there!
11:30 PM on 09/08/13
Tele72
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This record, Satori, and From The Birds Cage are going to make it way too hard for me to chose an album of the year.
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