Connecticut’s The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die have always strived to differentiate themselves from their “emo revival” contemporaries. Combining emo’s angst with an ambitious post-rock streak, and sometimes invasive usage of synthesizers, TWIABP have carved out their own niché.
They continue to occupy that with their third full-length, ‘Always Foreign’, tweaking and maturing their sound so that the sometimes awkward parts of their style, sound perfectly natural. Take the synths on opener ‘I’ll Make Everything’, for example. They’re used here for interesting background effects rather being in-your-face as they might’ve been on the band’s earlier work.
Subtlety is key through most of ‘Always Foreign’, with only-just-audible atmospherics being used to add extra dimensions to a simple acoustic track like ‘Robin’. TWIAPB also get more ambitious on album number three. ‘Marine Tigers’ is a prog-rock odyssey that incorporates the synchronisation of background choral vocals, Josh Cyr’s leads, and the patter of the drums for one section which eventually morphs into a fantastic instrumental explosion led by trumpets, which is an absolute delight.
‘Always Foreign’ isn’t all maturation, subtlety and bombast, though – ‘The Future’ is a straightforward, upbeat rock song; while ‘Dillon and Her Son’ is reminiscent of no-nonsense ’80s post-punk. In addition, songs like ‘Gram’ stay true to emo’s trademark lyrical and vocal angst, while incorporating some of the more expansive sonic elements seen elsewhere on the album. These songs come in the middle of more grandiose tracks and help keep things grounded and interesting.
‘Always Foreign’ is the sound of a band maturing, but it’s also the sound of a band who are comfortable in themselves. Parts of TWIABP’s sound have been tweaked from 2015’s ‘Harmlessness’, but this is hardly a retooling. This works in the album’s favour, meaning ‘Always Foreign’ is a delightful listen for fans of TWIABP and those new listeners alike.
‘Always Foreign’ by The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die is released on 29th Septembe on Epitaph Records.
Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)