As composed as I can be, sitting in the path of a hurricane, I watch as the trees catch the worst of the tropical fury like a catcher pocketing a fastball. Nature protecting us against Nature. It's a balance we don't even consider, until we're holed up in the creature comforts of our homes, hiding from the harsh unpredictabilities of the outside. Pennsylvania band Balance & Composure, I'm willing to bet, we're not thinking such ecological thoughts when naming their band nearly a decade ago, but these things go through my head while listening to their new record Light We Made as the turbulent tropical air swims outside my windows.
After a three year break — "We all just took personal time off to focus on other things," drummer Bailey Van Ellis explains — the album shocked many of their fans with its incorporation of electronic elements into their post-hardcore/emo sound. A shift made obvious in the album's first release. We wanted to try something different, something the band hadn't done before. To lead off with 'Postcard' as the first single was definitely intentional. We knew there would be a mixed reaction and that some people wouldn't get it, but that's growth and we wanted it to be evident where our heads were at."
During their brief hiatus, the music scene in their home state has been cranking out the goods. "It's very cool to see. Almost all of the bands that are coming out of Pennsylvania are mutual friends, and it is special being a part of something bigger," enthuses Van Ellis. Throughout those years they were still, quietly, gathering ideas up for the next record. "There wasn't a gap in writing. When it came time to get back together and work on songs we were all ready to do so."
For a band whose last visit to town was on a hardcore bill that churned BackBooth into a seething mass of tumbling bodies, the relaxed melodies and jangly Johnny Marr-esque guitar riffs will come as a surprise to some. As will their less aggressive choice of tourmates this time around: Foxing and Mercury Girls. As for how the crowds will react to the dreamier sound and this more indie-pop and experimental emo lineup, Van Ellis pays it no mind, "We play what we play and the people that come out to see us react how they react."
In Florida, especially, they have no worries. "Orlando has always been wonderful to us and we always look forward to playing when we're there. Florida was a state that accepted our band from a very early stage, and we're very grateful for that." Accept them Wednesday, October 19, when they return to the Social.
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