Balance and Composure – Only Boundaries EP
Record Label: No Sleep Records
Release Date: August 11, 2009
I’ve only been in one scene: The chase sequence of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. I was almost cast as a main character, but at the last minute I became relegated to a “townsperson.” For one scene. My grandmother still mocks me for this. After my time as an upper middle class white Arabic child, I swore to never join anything ever again. However, my effervescent personality made this plan difficult. I started eating in the bathroom so as not to be part of the corporate food system, and of course I started a trend. If my friend Adam hadn’t tried to flush his Thermos down the toilet I would still be in that bathroom with my PBandnoJ. But I guess there’s a heavily veiled metaphor (THIS JOKE WORKS TWO WAYS) in here somewhere. Something about a scene. And probably something about Balance and Composure.
Maybe it’s that I would turn this whole loner/loser thing in for a few friends who love Balance and Composure. They make me want human contact – but please ask before you touch. The buildup on Only Boundaries’ closer, “What’s Wrong With Everything,” you know, the part where everyone yells “Hallelujah / I’m coming home” together, is enough to make me question my fork-in-the-road choice. It’s just so heavy without being heavy. The constant straddling of La Dispute screams and new Brand New’s fake, well, everything, turns this whole shebang into the most memorable 4-song feast of 2009. “Show Your Face”, for example, may stick with you until you die of mosh exhaustion. Jon Simmons’ everyman lethargy only appears when he’s not shredding his vocal chords, and his one-man-act truly blossoms when he sings-to-yells, “Your words cannot tell me / That my neighbor’s burning / For that I can’t believe / So tell me / Am I burning, too?” The looping guitars of Simmons and f**king awesomely named Andy Slaymaker add yet another level of catchy hypnosis. And before you know it, you’re hand-in-hand with some tattooed asshole. But I guess that’s what Purel is for.
The reason this sort of half-hearted post-hardcore works is only because the “quieter” moments pack as many punches as the ones intended to wake us from the dead. The lull in “Show Your Face” isn’t so much a lull as it is an omen of the insanity to come. “I Can’t Do This Alone” wallows in purple atmospheres and drums that merely trot, but it’s not wasted space. It’s just solid sound construction. You must start somewhere firm if you want the apex to be worth a damn. And they have clearly figured out how to hold our attention. To do that without doing anything new is where talent plays into this whole music thing. All you have to do is be good and nobody will care if you’re good at the same thing as somebody else.
Recommended If You Like: new Brand New, La Dispute, ha, Texas is the Reason, haha, The Republic of Wolves