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Under normal circumstances, Doylestown’s Balance and Composure is pretty loud. Or, no – that’s an understatement. It’s crushingly loud. Amp-shorting, ear-blistering, string-rattling…and so on. You can draw your own metaphor. So it was kind of unexpected and a cool surprise when lead vocalist Jon Simmons and guitarist Andy Slaymaker showed up with acoustic guitars to record their Key Studio Session late this summer. Their album The Things We Think We’re Missing was wrapped up and about to drop on No Sleep Records, a tour was due to begin shortly. And beneath their trademark layers of roaring distortion and massive instrumental arrangements – which, make no mistake, were artfully crafted by Conshohocken uber-producer Will Yip – the guys were eager to show that that one could find songs at the core. The performance you hear below is gripping: Slaymaker’s guitar is in the right headphone, Simmons’ is in the left, and their playing is complimentary and interlocking. Sometimes they’re both fervently strumming the same chords, creating a heavy surround of low-end tones; sometimes they’re playing distinct parts that ebb and flow into one another. And Simmons’ vocals are tough and yet tender as he works through free-associated thoughts about faith, heartache, loneliness, abandonment. Listen below and download the performances for a side to these alt-punk heavyweightsyou won’t see this weekend when they play a sold-out Union Transfer.

Balance and Composure “Reflection” – WXPN Key Studio Session from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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