Words About Music
The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die “Between Bodies”
One of my absolute favorite emo bands in recent years has been Connecticut group The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, whose lineup is as large and expansive as the band’s name. Last summer they released their proper debut album “Whenever, If Ever,” an album I loved then and love even more now. I caught the band live earlier this year, and they truly are one of the best bands of their ilk. Following up the album so quickly with a new 30-minute EP is only the second riskiest component of “Between Bodies.” The group chose to add another (temporary) member to their lineup, poet and spoken word artist Chris Zizzaria. The music on this album focuses less on the vocal stylings of David Bello and more on the transcendentalist, nature-heavy poetry of Chris Z. A bold move indeed, but not one that really jived with fans based on the nasty Facebook comments.
Let me continue by saying that I didn’t outright hate “Between Bodies.” When I first heard “Space Exploration to Solve Earthly Crises,” I was very unsure as to why the band was adding this random to their group, but after hearing the EP in its entirety it makes a bit more sense. The band’s music has always had a very nature-centered, atmospheric feel. They draw a lot from post-rock and use plenty of colors and landscapes in their lyrics’ imagery. The problem with Chris Z’s addition to the group, in my opinion, is that they put it so much in the forefront that it sounds preachy and pretentious. What I love so much about “Whenever, If Ever” as well as EPs like “Josh is Dead” and “Formlessness” is that they’re very subtle. Even when the band chooses to explode into climax, the lyrics tend to sit in the back with the passionate performances in the front. And, admittedly, sometimes the lyrics can be sort of laughable, so that’s a good thing. What Chris Z does, though, is bring all that up front. Every mention of stars and the universe and nature is perfectly decipherable.
The lyrics aren’t the only overt problem with the EP, though. Chris’ voice can also be fairly annoying. Not to say that every contributing vocalist to TWIABP’s music is perfectly pitched, but, like I said, it all usually hangs in the back. The instrumentation and musical performances on “Between Bodies” are top notch, but hearing Chris yell things like “WHEN I WAS WITH YOU WE WERE AN ESTUARY, I DON’T KNOW IF I COME FROM THE RIVER OR THE SEA” over it kind of gets old at the end of 30 minutes.
“Between Bodies” is an ambitious undertaking for the band and I’m glad they got it out of their systems, but I’m not super on board. The songs on here are nearly as good as any the band has written, but I’m not a huge fan of Chris Z. The album ends up sounding like a poor attempt at ripping off La Dispute. It’s not lame as a whole, but an integral part of it is pretty lame. I just hope that the next release is more in the vein of their past music.
SCORE – 5.9
FAVORITE TRACKS – Space Explorations to Solve Earthly Crises, Thanks, Shoppers Beef, $100 Tip, Autotonsorialist