The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, or TWIABP for short, is an indie rock band based out of Connecticut. Harmlessness is their sophomore followup to 2013’s Whenever if Ever and a plethora of singles and notable EPs between 2010 and 2013. TWIABP is a large band and this is easily reflected in this album’s expansive sound. Comparable to large bands like Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene, there is a range of many sounds and instrument thrown in to the mix of 14 songs, from brass to strings. The album is ambitious and while it isn’t a collection for a numb brain that can be tuned out, it succeeds in a multitude of new ways.
Maturity is a theme that covers just about every aspect of this album. Production value is near perfect. Every instrument is clear and breaks through the stereo in just the right way. It is conspicuous that the band is comprised of musicians that can work together well. If just one instrument were removed, a significant part of the album’s sound would be lost – it shows an incredible amount of thought that had been poured into each song. Starting with “You Can’t Live There Forever,” the first track pulls a Pink Floyd sort of analog to stereo trick that would seem gimmicky if not executed as carefully as it was.
Speaking of the first track, a ground work is lain from the very first strum of a lo-fi acoustic guitar in lyricism. The lyrics of this album tackle some pretty heavy issues. From death, in tracks like “Rage Against the Dying of the Light,” (a clever Dylan Thomas reference) to mental health with the plainly named “Mental Health,” and “I Can be Afraid of Anything.” Duets are also notable in their execution, though it tends to be worn out and cheesy, the congregation of two voices brought depth to the meaning of tracks like “January 10th, 2014.” This is not a light album, but the songwriting does justice to the ubiquitous problems it stands to delineate.
Unique and riddled with variety, TWIABP’s Harmlessness adopts the elements of their first album while changing the sound slightly to accommodate a level of experimentation that keeps things new. Harmless requires a little bit of preparation to listen to, but can safely remain as one of 2015’s better albums in the indie genre.
Recommended If You Like: Broken Social Scene, Dear and the Headlights, Of Monsters and Men
Recommended Tracks: 1 (You Can’t Live There Forever), 7 (Mental Health), 8 (Wendover)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Dylan Fox on 10/06/15