*Photograph courtesy of Dave Summers.
There are few bands that sound like Balance and Composure. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but their sound inherits a range of influences that simmer beneath the surface, seeming somehow novel and familiar at the same time. In basic terms, Balance and Composure uses a grunge approach to making guitar-centric post-rock. At times they resemble a more concise Slint or a less quirky Pixies; at others it’s hard to even muster a comparison.
The group formed in Doylestown, PA in 2007 as a hybrid of several friends’ musical projects, eventually pooling their talents into Balance and Composure. The five players’s styles seem almost factory-made to play together: melodic, unrushed guitar refrains, nimble bass lines, concise percussion and high-octane emotional vocals. To say they have good chemistry would only sell them short. Their music is mixed with a spacious, unrushed style that lets each instrument breathe and allows the listener to experience all the subtle pleasures without feeling suffocated.
In 2011, Balance and Composure released ‘Separation,’ their debut full length from No Sleep Records (La Dispute, All For Nothing). It’d be an enviable release for grizzled vets of the genre, but for a debut from five college-age kids it’s nothing short of spectacular. Think: the feedback friendly meandering of post rock under the anxious influence of early 90s grunge. But for all the influences and genre-swapping, what defines ‘Separation’ is its refined simplicity, a discipline that usually takes years to achieve. This young quintet nailed it on the head on their first shot.
Hard to define and even harder to classify, Balance and Composure are a young band for whom maturity, intelligence and charisma come naturally. Their next step, whatever it may be, is sure to deliver an equally powerful punch.