Anyone old enough to remember Deep Elm’s painlessly earnest Emo Diaries series and the Dashboard Confessional era of Vagrant Records — when the bloodletting autobiographies of bands like Saves the Day, the Get Up Kids and Alkaline Trio were the label’s bread and butter — will feel like they’ve stepped back in time while listening to Balance and Composure’s second album. Unlike the cornball scream/sing combos that came after emo’s second (or was it third?) wave and dominated everything from the Warped Tour’s main stage to the pages of Alternative Press, The Things We Think We’re Missing delivers its heart-on-sleeve hooks in the spirit of Sunny Day Real Estate and their pre-Fugazi forebears Rites of Spring, only not quite as raw or rough around the edges — the poison-tipped melodies of “Parachutes” and the door-clawing climax of “Notice Me” are offset by contemplative choruses and riffs that shimmer and shudder. So while the minor-keyed malaise of frontman Jon Simmons may sound a little too familiar on paper — lots of lines about crying, falling and letting go — it’s actually quite endearing on record, capable of waking the confused teenager in all of us.
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