Balance and Composure - Light We Made

Review by Shannon Shumaker

Light We Made is easily Balance and Composure’s most dynamic and ambitious release to date. More often than not, it’s make or break when an artist makes the conscious effort to go in a new direction sonically, which is exactly what the band did with this album, and thankfully, the three years they took to hone in on a sound and craft Light We Made after the 2013 release of The Things We Think We’re Missing have paid off and then some. Even moments into the first track on the album, it’s apparent that Balance and Composure have put great care into this release, and as it progresses, it only feels natural and easy, never forced or uncertain.

Opening track, “Midnight Zone” really sets the tone for Light We Made, both introducing listeners to this new, dreamy and ethereal side of Balance and Composure while still nodding at the band’s older material. There’s still a hint of the hauntingly beautiful and dark side of the band that fans have grown to love over the years, but “Midnight Zone” is definitely a step in a new direction. The vocals are soft, floating easily over stunning instrumentals, leaving you wondering if you’re really listening to Balance and Composure by the time it comes to an end - and I mean that in the best way possible.

For anyone who may feel a little hesitant about the change in sound, the second track, “Spinning” is just for you. Those signature rough, emotional vocals from Jon Simmons are the driving force of this song alongside dark guitar and bass - it sounds like older Balance and Composure without taking a step backwards.

The next few songs, “Afterparty” and “For A Walk” contrast very well, but without coming off as choppy or disjointed. Where “Afterparty” has a very solid, full band sound, “For A Walk” is synth heavy and feels very electronic based. With an easy transition between these two very different songs, Balance and Composure prove yet again what the past three years have done for them. Everything flows with ease, especially the following track, “Mediocre Love,” which takes both those new and older sounds and merges them effortlessly.

The only downside on Light We Made comes in the energy. While each song is absolutely stunning for its own reason, there are a few tracks that lack the drive that “Afterparty” or even “Spinning” have. “Postcard,” while beautiful, can tend to drag on a little bit. Although Balance and Composure have excelled in mastering a completely new musical direction, the only downside is that a few tracks on the album can tend to be a little mellow or redundant at times. Thankfully, there are a few moments toward the end of the album that counter this, though, such as the drumming and guitar work in “Call It Losing Touch” or the incredible bass tone and powerful vocals in “Fame.” “Fame” actually proves to be one of the strongest songs on the album, lyrically and sonically - the song has many peaks and valleys in the dark verses and bright, higher energy choruses which makes it very dynamic and fun to listen to.

As a whole, Light We Made marks a stunning musical milestone for Balance and Composure. Easily well worth the wait, the three years between The Things We Think We’re Missing and Light We Made have done wonders for the band, who have managed to effortlessly merge their darker, punk-rock roots with a more dreamy, synth-driven sound. Balance and Composure have changed with this release, and in the best way possible.

Rating: 4/5

Listen to "Fame" or "Midnight Zone"