Let me say that Balance and Composure was one of my favorite bands when their "I Just Want to Be Pure" EP came out years ago, and that this review is going to be a bizarre, conflicted stream of consciousness. That said, Balance and Composure is a band that, while I enjoy them "enough," I don't actually understand or comprehend. To expound on that, I should say that I understand their motivations; I understand their place in the "scene," for whatever that's worth. What I don't understand is what exactly they're trying to do with this album, and what exactly they're trying to prove.

To be fair to Balance and Composure, though, this album is leaps and strides better than "Separation," which had great initial reviews, but lacked longevity--due to a more free-form, less formulaic songwriting approach. And that's wonderful. Applause all around, but Balance and Composure (at least, how they're received in the music scene and subculture they cling to) is a band of formula, of structure, and not one of true originality. Nothing on this album, not a note, not a pluck or strum or line or snare hit is truly original--this album is simply an example of what B&C are best at: making sad, edgy alternative music. But there's a place for that in their scene. I mean, for Christ's sake, if I wanted to be blown away consistently by new and amazing innovations in music, I'd keep Isaac Brock as a slave in my basement and never leave my home.

Now, pretense and praise out of the way, I have two main issues (one that I've mentioned and one that I haven't) with "The Things We Think We're Missing." The first is that there isn't really any noticeable change or progression from the 2009 "Only Boundaries" EP, and that--by now, in 2013--the music that B&C choose to keep making and playing (sans innovation) is quickly dying out. The American attention span, in all of it's glory, deems that something will be hugely popular for roughly one year to, at most, eighteen months. Unfortunately, if Balance and Composure doesn't step up their game and create something that's absolutely incredible with their next album, it may be their last--which, personally, kind of bums me out. Like I mentioned before, I'm a fan of B&C and truly enjoy their music.

The second, and last, issue I have with "TTWTWM" is that it's completely and utterly overlong. Working with an average of 3:45 per song, there's just not enough going on to hold up that length. I know that that sounds like a horrible insult, 3:45 being too long, but it's a huge issue for me. For example, by the time "Notice Me" comes on, you're thinking, "What an interesting song to close on." It's fifth track out of thirteen. That's simply an insurmountable issue.

Those two issues aside, what Balance and Composure does bring to the table just isn't enough to make up for the damage they did themselves. Sadly, it just doesn't cut it.