The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die are an indie rock/emo outfit, but according to their official band info, that’s subject to change. They have a great number of present and former members, which is apparently in a constant state of transforming. I don’t care much about that, though, as long as the music is good. And it definitely is. In anticipation for this new album (released only last week), I gave their first full-length Whenever, If Ever a listen, and I was impressed. I had high hopes for Harmlessness, and they weren’t let down.
To preface, I have to say that it’s not much of a new direction for the band. The only very notable difference is the lack of horns–otherwise, it’s pretty much another batch of songs cut from the same cloth. This isn’t a bad thing, though, as it’s got more than enough power in its current style to keep it alive. It’s an album that you can listen to when you want to have fun, even though you’re feeling emotional. It sets a somewhat melancholy tone throughout, and creates an atmosphere to improve the listening experience. This is most prevalent on the excellent “Ra Patera Dance”, where the guitar work is also beautiful.
One big factor to a song that I find myself appreciating greatly is a good build and payoff. The first song, “You Can’t Live There Forever” is a prime example of this–even though it starts off slowly, it grabs your attention just enough to keep you around until the climax, providing an excellent beginning to an equally-describable album. In fact, the entire record has a natural flow to it, with some tracks leading directly into one another, giving it the “one long song” vibe. Another noteworthy track with a build and payoff is “Haircuts for Everybody”, which not only has an excellent climax percussion-wise, but also with the vocals, a duet.
The guitars are somewhat simple, yet unorthodox. Instead of being constant with a progression or series of power chords, it’s well-placed single notes–an emo staple. Group vocals are a TWIABP trademark, and the melodies that come out of it are wonderful. Specifically, the ones on “Wendover”, proving that music can still sound pretty with little more than light guitars each measure and backing drums. The only detractors to this album are the songs with no real payoff. “blank #11” gets a pass because it’s a nice interlude, but I’m not particularly fond of the relatively static “Mental Health”.
Because nobody in my age range has heard of The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, I had a few of my friends listen to it to get some extra opinions.
“It was alright”, said Joaquin Keys, a junior. “Not my favorite but I like how it’s a little slower than some of the other music listen to.”
“The album was relaxing to listen to while doing homework”, says Brandon Marcucci, also in eleventh grade.
“Though I was only able to listen to a few songs, I found myself really enjoying their music” remarks Desirre Yanko, another junior. “It’s different, calming, and I’d definitely listen to them more often.”