Artist The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die
Album Between Bodies Year Released: 7 October 2014
Label Topshelf Records Genre Post-Hardcore | Atmospheric | Emo
Last year, the band that shocks people with their band name (for the length and potential happiness attributed to it) released Whenever, If Ever. The album was a tranquil experience that really brought a focused bit of attention to the emo-revival genre of music. Recently, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die began playing live shows with a spoken-word artist named Chris Zizzamia. Between Bodies is the collaboration with the band and this poet.
The record begins with “Blank #8/Precipice.” I remember the content of the first spoken poetry perfectly, as I heard it and it put me into perspective. That is what makes this record of heavy spoken words that much more polarizing. The poems are more worldly, discussing the universe in relation to the human condition. “Space Explorations To Solve Earthly Crises” has a song title describing exactly what I mean, with equally ambient music featuring horns and keyboards with a dissonant guitar. But the vocal approach is provoking, giving this emo/post-hardcore band more intent and beauty. “If And When I Die” goes from talking about the “big bang” to your parents fucking (get it?), but ends with “On the day they find a place where stars are safe from everything but the brightness of the moon, scatter my ashes there so that from which I came can witness that which I’ve become. No one is invincible, everyone’s immortal.”
Let that sink in as the musical motif recalls a theme heard on Whenever, If Ever. That small addition to the song might go unnoticed to people who have never heard that record, but if you listen to it and then to “If And When I Die” it will bring a sense of closure. As if that piece has found a new home, as if this band has found a new way to captivate audiences, as if this band has taken an older formula of music and polarized it to be even more beautiful. The mood of “Thanks” is uplifting, almost a reminder from the band that they are grateful to be able to do this record. In all instances The World Is A Beautiful Place… sounds like a band having fun. The few songs where Dave (the actual vocalist) sings are rare, and I wish there was more, but his voice offers a more ambient and reflective presence on this record.
But just when there is beauty, “Lioness” is dark, destructive, discordant. Zizzamia’s tone is completely different, almost in a desperate rage. As the song flows into “Shopper’s Beef” he recalls the way humans feel in utter despair, “‘You cannot defeat the darkness, you can only be the light’ fuck that. At the core of night I couldn’t imagine anything I’d like less than to be the light.” If a listener paid attention to the first song, the poem here seems to be in response to it, giving this record a bit more of focus, with more details to be found in every listen. And then there is “Autotonsorialist.” Words cannot describe how beautiful, gorgeous, and shocking this closing song is. With the music being emotionally distraught, Dave’s vocals crying out, and Zizzamia’s poetry tickling our thoughts — it’s golden.
Between Bodies is an album not made for every listener, but with the right approach anyone can take something away from this. It is thought-provoking, it is even frustrating to listen to. But that is what music is for, to build emotions and let them pour out all in the same song. The poetry is stunning, the instrumentation is equally as important. It all works.