Written By: Sebastian Barnum
Label: No Sleep Digital – Rating:
Many punk and alternative bands come and pass, for example does anyone remember Yellowcard, point made. Often they are somewhat interchangeable, and have roughly a year of fame before they move home and work on “side projects,” when they in fact give music lessons for the rest of their life. They are forgotten because they don’t have that quality that makes people want to put the album on repeat and just drive. Luckily the music industry nowadays has gotten rid of mediocre bands for straight forword bad hip-hop. Fortunately for us, Balance and Composure falls into none of these categories. As an up-and-coming band in the world of alternative and punk, they have in my opinion the best EP of the year, “Only Boundaries.”
From the opening track, Balance and Composure revs up the engine, and slowly but surely takes control of your attention and your ears. The adequately titled “I Can’t Do This Alone” begins with a quiet guitar and light drums, but soon explodes into an energetic story of youth and sympathy. The vocals have a seemingly intentional lethargic style to them, which only adds to the emotions that resonate in the audience. Lyrics like “You call yourself a cowboy, but you just can’t let things go” show the connection that this band has found with its audience, and an understanding of the emotions we all feel at one point or another. While the drums play simple rhythms that drive the song, one can’t help but be reminded of the late years of Blink-182, and the constant struggle for color in a bland and hopeless world.
The title track of the album (Only Boundaries) has a simplistic yet seductive structure to it. While the vocals are melodic and the harmonies are great, there are unnecessary screams that work, but at the same time seem to come from nowhere. The guitar and drums drive the song, playing off of each other with the controlled chaos that one could only hope for from a band that chooses to be labeled “punk.” The lyrics clearly express some sort of sorrow “It’s always on my troubled mind.” And while the song begins with a rather cheery sound to it, it is clearly revealed as false. The images created lyrically perfectly contrast with the perky feelings manifested by the accelerated composition.
My absolute favorite track on this album is “Show You Face,” in which Balance and Composure takes full advantage of their creative control. With excruciating perfect drums, and a wicked driving guitar, the band steps into a territory that forgotten bands have never seen. The harmonies are perfect, and the agitated screams reveal a teenage angst that you will fall in love with. With a guitar riff that’s catchier than the swine flu, you won’t even realize that it explains the emotional wreckage of a bad breakup. A song that you can head bang to, fight during, jump during, run during, or just drive with the top down in the summer, its almost the perfect new-age punk song.
The album ends with a song called “What’s Wrong With Everything,” which seems like the bands emotional breakthrough. It’s not very similar to the rest of the EP, but it’s individuality adds to its subtle charm, and importance to the record. The wailings of the lead vocalist seem to show him begging for sympathy, or the end of a bad day. The song clearly focuses on the hateful grudge against an ex-lover, while making it independent and unique compared to other soppy broken heart ballads.
All in all, the “Only Boundaries” is certainly worth the listen. Actually, it’s worth buying. Balance and Composure is simply the best Punk/Emo band I have heard in the last five years. With the fiery angst of a grunge album, and the controlled chaos of late 90’s punk rock, they demonstrate the way music should be. I give this album 4/4 guns, and I would suggest you all go out and pick it up.