Balance and Composure sounds like a good band. They recall Brand New and latter day Crime in Stereo. They boast moody guitar dynamics, shredding vocals, and expansive songwriting just like some of the best bands in the emo/post-hardcore genre. But these tunes are at times too expansive. While none of the band’s four songs exceed the six-minute mark, each individual track has a meandering, formless quality. There are parts of, say, “Twenty Four,” that rock, but as a whole, the song is indistinct. I’m sure these guys put on a great live show, but on record, their stuff blurs together into a pleasant but forgettable hum. Still, “Rope” is pretty great.
Tigers Jaw is a little more successful, even though they recycle two tracks from their 2006 album Belongs to the Dead (“Jet Alone,” “Danielson”). Maybe it’s just the vocals or the location, but the band definitely sounds like a more indie rock, keyboard-y version of The Menzingers. But it works. “Danielson” in particular stands out as a peppy number.
With a half-hour running time, this split should fulfill fans’ listening needs. While both sides are merely solid, there’s nothing wrong about that.