It seems like forever since we last heard from Balance and Composure. Separation was released in May of 2011 - that's not even two-and-a-half years ago, but it feels like much longer. Since then, the band's sound has grown along with their confidence, and there's already been plenty to suggest that The Things We Think We're Missing will be a marked improvement on what's come before.

Lead single 'Reflection' hinted at a broader sound palette, one more focused on riffs and delivered with searing intensity, and that's exactly what their second album offers. It takes the wintry mood of their previous work and opts for something every bit as nuanced as before, but more varied and unpredictable. It also flows as one continuous piece of work, ebbing and flowing naturally through its 13 tracks to an emphatic conclusion.

Kicking off with the melodic aggression of 'Parachutes', whose high-octane hook and constantly shifting song structure sets the bar for the album as a whole, it takes very little time for the record to settle into itself, and by the time we reach track four, 'Tiny Raindrop', it's already apparent that the band have moved on from Separation and are now pursuing something much different.

The band's updated sound has as much in common with cornerstones of the 90s underground musical landscape like Sunny Day Real Estate, as it does the readily accessible grunge of Nirvana, and the harsher moments of contemporaries like Brand New and Crime in Stereo, and it's these broad points of reference that have allowed the quintet - Jon Simmons, Erik Petersen. Andy Slaymaker, Matt Warner and Bailey Van Ellis - to create an album that hints at those influences, but is clearly removed from them.

Certain tracks display an impressively forceful side ('Notice Me', 'I'm Swimming'), while others (the bare bones acoustic track 'Dirty Head' and the brief instrumental segue 'Ella' chief among them) break new ground for the band. It's often that bands release second albums that merely refine the sound featured on previous work, but The Things We Think We're Missing goes quite a way beyond that. The likes of the punishing album centrepiece 'Cut Me Open' show off a band that have both tightened up their sound (they've been together for almost six years now, and it shows) and pushed themselves forward in a manner that suggests their third album could be the one that defines them.

TTWTWM puts serious distance between itself and the rest of the band's catalogue; more immediate than Separation and full to the brim with creativity and musical invention, it confirms that the band have a seriously bright future ahead of them. On this evidence, they're not missing much.