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Album Review

Pennsylvania quintet Balance & Composure (singer/guitarists Jonathan Simmons and Andrew Slaymaker, guitarist Erik Petersen, bassist Matthew Warner, and drummer Bailey Van Ellis) demonstrate their abilities in an established rock style with their debut full-length, Separation. That style is emo hardcore, as the band thrashes in a sub-metal mode while the adenoidal singers whine about how disappointing things are and how they don't feel they fit in. ("Galena": "I don't belong here"; "Echo": "The world that I know never had a care for me.") It's a style thoroughly investigated by the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Taking Back Sunday, and Yellowcard, among others. But all those bands had their breakouts in the mid-2000s, and Balance & Composure is coming along half-a-dozen years later, which is too late to join the pack and too soon for a revival.

Customer Reviews

Didn't give it a chance

What an uninformitive review. It sounds like the reviewer is reviewing the genre as a whole and not the album. To say the style has been thoroughly investigated is pointless. That's like saying we should stop making songs about love or loss because that subject has been thourghroly investigate and done before. I know nothing more now than I did before I read the review except this band is from Pennsylvania or this band sounds like some other band. Which tells me nothing. No mention of intrumentals or vocals and the only mention of lyrics is how the "whine" about stuff in which you back up two lines of lyrics. Congrats that's the first thing that even told me you listened to this album for more than 30 seconds.

The music says it all...

To the first time listener, 'Balance and Composure' may sound similar and be quickly compared to acts like Brand New and Polar Bear Club, but these kids seldomly revisit old ground. Once you cycle through their discography you become aware of how musically talented and fresh this young band truly is. Aggresive, Melodic and honest, their music as well as their lyrics have something to offer the most diverse crowd of punk lovers (but you can easily argue that they appeal to more than the punk scene).

If you like Polar Bear Club; Manchester Orchestra; Brand New; or mewithoutYou and are looking for a new band to invest in, Balance and Composure is the band for you. If not, check them out regardless because like I said, they have something to offer anyone who enjoys the art of music.

Basically perfect.

The "review" at the top is condescending. Everything by this band is worth getting a listening to if you enjoy such things. I give it 5 stars because this album never gets old and I love the band to death. Make your own choice as to buying it or not, but I strongly suggest it. They have a style all their own. Simple, and beautiful music.


Formed: 2007 in Doylestown, PA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formed in 2007 after the breakup of two local Doylestown, Pennsylvania bands, Balance & Composure is comprised of Jon Simmons (guitar, vocals), Andy Slaymaker (guitar, vocals), Erik Petersen (guitar), Matt Warner (bass), and Bailey Van Ellis (drums), all of whom were familiar figures on the local indie scene. Developing an effective, muddy, emo, hardcore post-grunge sound, the band released the I Just Want to Be Pure EP in 2008, following it up with another EP, Only Boundaries, in 2009. A debut full-length,...
Full Bio
Separation, Balance and Composure
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Customer Ratings