I want you to say it with me! The World is a Beautiful Place and I am no Longer Afraid to Die is not just another emo revival band! The World is a Beautiful Place and I am no Longer Afraid to Die is not just another emo band! Sure, you’re probably going to look at their name and think to yourself, “Wow, that is definitely just another emo revival band,” and before the release of Harmlessness, I may have let that slide, but no longer. If you are going to only read the first paragraph of this review, this should be your takeaway. If you are into indie music, and I mean in any manner, LISTEN TO THIS RECORD.
On Harmlessness, The World is a Beautiful Place comes through with their most undeniably thought out, well put together, concise release to date. The band does not leave their past behind them though, weaving in odes to a vast back catalogue, all while managing to create something completely and totally refreshing. Something that at some points musters such intimate, comforting feelings, and then manages to guide you into some of the most intense, all consuming tracks released this year.
The crowning example of this is the third track on the record, “January 10th, 2014.” Not unlike other tracks, the song begins simply enough with some distant guitar. As soon as the vocals and drums kick in, the track becomes your guide. While vocalist David F Bello’s voice gently glides in followed by Katie Stanholtzer-Dvoark’s, it’s clear that this band has taken its sound to the next level. This is not just a song, but a story. Bello and Stanholtzer-Dvorak perfectly play off of each other’s vocals, narrating a story of murder, revenge, and most importantly, a crowning triumph. The story is only furthered, as well as resolved, through the band’s stellar backing instrumentals.
This is the case for most of the album, as the band’s instrumentals are a true shining light, the perfect testament of how this group has matured. The influences drawn from various bands is clear, but those influences are nearly drowned out in pure creativity from each respective member. The band’s drummer, Steven Buttery, comes through with some of his his best work by far, something I actually thought would be near impossible to top. The way that the vocals throughout play off of the drums combined with the distant, ambient sounding guitars, synths, and violin leave me constantly finding myself in awe, taken back by the the massive, dazzling moments on nearly every track. This would have nowhere near the same effect had it not been for the totally immaculate production done by band member Chris Teti at Silver Bullet Studios, each song somehow managing to sound like it spent years recording, mixing, and mastering, until reaching total purity.
With each listen, Harmlessness came together as a whole. I began to pick out and appreciate its intricacies, grow more involved with the stories, form more and more connections with the deeply personal lyrics. I’m finding it difficult to put into words, but Harmlessness is damn near perfect, and it pains me to know that people are going to skip this album. Will this album win over the fans that loved their more lo fi, emo tracks? Maybe. Will this album win over the acclaim of the “indie” sphere? I sure hope so. At this point, this band deserves any and all recognition it receives.
Grade : A