“Keepsake,” off of Balance and Composure’s upcoming album, The Things We Think We’re Missing, isn’t so much a breakup song as it is a dumping song. Ouch. On top of that, vocalist Jonathan Simmons isn’t even the dumpee -- he’s the one doing the dumping! But, in his defense, the dumping in question isn’t a case of “See ya later, baby.” He seems to feel just as bad as the girl who got cut loose.
“I wrote it after a relationship of mine ended,” Simmons told Hive. “It’s about not being real with somebody and never really showing yourself, or opening up, or letting the person really get to me. It’s torturous to me knowing that she wants me, but I can’t do it. It would be wrong for both of us.”
“Keepsake,” like the album, finds the band taking a more planned, tactical approach to their post-alt-rock sound when compared to their previous release, the more jagged Separation. On “Keepsake,” all the instruments congeal, creating an almost shoegaze wall of sound. Distanced drums drive forward as spacious guitars continually rise higher, giving the song the feeling of an immense object rising into the clouds. Anthony Green of Circa Survive is also featured.
It’s interesting then, because, just as the song starts its climb, Simmons calls out, “Don’t fall/and I’ll catch you on the outside/but you called/and don’t tell me that you want back in.” The whole piece seems designed not to point fingers at the breakup in question, but to study the cause and kinda, sorta wallow in the aftermath -- for just a little bit.
But, the song ends on a positive note (maybe) with Simmons declaring, “Hallejuah, I’ve discovered everything.” It mirrors his personal life, where, after breakups, Simmons’s mom will sift through Tumblr and if she sees a girl that likes the band, she’ll let Simmons know that kinda, sorta there’s a date in it for him. “I don’t go on Tumblr or anything,” he pauses. “Everything my mom says is news to me. It’s… embarrassing.”
The Things We Think We’re Missing drops on September 10th via No Sleep Records.