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Balance and Composure - Separation

Maryland Matt   (180 reviews)

Posted: 12/02/2011 | Comments: 31 | Rate:

Balance and Composure Separation, being one of best records released in 2011, made it 6 months without being reviewed by anyone on this site. I am personally embarrassed by that fact since I myself have been thoroughly enjoying every second of this album since its release in May. They are a band that slipped under my finely tuned radar up until I happened to catch part of their set at the Charm City Art Space in Baltimore when they played with Make Do and Mend and Diamond. The brief portion of their set that I was able to experience had their hooks sunk in to me immediately, all through a lethal combination of unparalleled songwriting, stellar musicianship, showmanship and a keen sense of melody. Many bands exhibit some of these qualities... very few can claim them all.

In recent years, I have noticed a resurgence in indie rock/post hardcore. Bands like Balance & Composure, Make Do and Mend, Hostage Calm, Polar Bear Club, Brand New and Rival Schools have been breathing new life into a seemingly dormant sect of underground music. Not since the mid to late 1990's have we been privileged to have not only quantity, but also quality in that regard. This record is yet another breath of life into the those newly rejuvenated lungs.

Separation is an emotional roller coaster full of introspectively driven themes. The nature of the works presented here will undoubtedly strum the heartstrings of anyone willing to open themselves to the experience. The vocal performance, while nearly flawless in execution, exudes a raw passion unwavering in every way. You truly believe every word belted out was birthed from something very real to the person who wrote them. You know that an event occurred that forced pen to paper and here you have the result of that, for better or worse. This isn't something that every band can even begin to understand, let alone harness.

Each song here is masterfully orchestrated. The individual elements have purpose and are the critical support structure for successfully carrying the weight of this record. It would be very easy for a band such as this to push too hard and over-complicate their own songs with excess... but not here. There is a constant sway to this record that leans from delicate to intense with the greatest of ease. It is very obvious that each member of this band made it a priority to ensure cohesiveness of their instrument with one another. Though seemingly impossible... this record is actually greater than the sum of its parts.

Another brilliant aspect is the actual instrumentation on Separation. The ebb and flow of the guitars intertwining around one another creates a beautifully lush soundscape. All too often with bands of this ilk, the guitars are over-saturated with effects and digital overlays, to the point that they no longer feel real. Accompanying the aforementioned points is the rock solid rhythm section. The bass and percussion know their place, but aren't afraid to reach beyond their comfortable groove in the interest of be inventive. With all of that being said, there is a wonderfully natural sonic quality to this record that elude most bands and producers of this era. I suppose it should come as no shock that the mastermind at the helm of this gem is legendary hardcore/indie producer Brian McTernan. His golden touch on music over the past 15+ years is undeniable and was obviously a major contributing factor in making this record as phenomenal as it is.

In closing, we live in a world full of shiny auto-tuned pop stars and disposable plastic radio rock bands... but we have this little scene of ours. We made a little nest and surrounded ourselves with a wealth of passionate musicians making absolutely beautiful music. Music that will never reach the ears of the masses because it isn't cost effective to try to market it to the brain dead droves out there. Bands composed of our peers are making sonic masterpieces right before ou

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I brought gifts
17,728 Posts
not that big of a fan on record....much better live......and their old shit is absolutely atrocious
vanilla gorilla
213,223 Posts
incredible album, awesome review
sees air
15,543 Posts
favorite release this year
Anchor Dude
30 Posts
In my top 3. Great band. Great record.
nah im alright
3,871 Posts
my favorite record of the year.
love everything theyve done.
Life Isn't Posi
2,998 Posts
Originally posted by: cbrickhouse

incredible album, awesome review

Just the tip?
773 Posts
Pretty good album, I dig it
11,085 Posts
old shit blows, this is good.
11,858 Posts
This record really grew on me. It's awesome
old dancing boy
38,181 Posts
anyone thats says their early shit is not good, must hate music.
11,085 Posts
I had them on a split with Tigers Jaw, meh.
old dancing boy
38,181 Posts
get "i just want to be pure" and "only boundries"
11,085 Posts
11,858 Posts
I'm pretty sure Arse Narples and I listen to all of the same music
still oh so ill
8,438 Posts
Mass Slippers and I both like Wu Tang.

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