Review: “Long Live Happy Birthday New EP by The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die

Steve Pisano/ flickr

The World is a Beautiful Place gives listeners something to celebrate

Since their inception in 2009, Connecticut indie, emo and post-rock band The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die has never stopped putting out quality content, often even releasing multiple projects each year.

Last year, the band released their second full-length record, “Harmlessness,” and their sixth EP titled “Death to New Years,” both met nearly universal critical acclaim.

The first song off of the EP, “From the Crow’s Nest on Fire Street,” is a thickly layered ballad complete with multiple guitars, a fairly prominent bass line and keys in classic The World is a Beautiful Place style. These all build up until they explode into the song’s final minutes, along with impassioned vocals from David Bello.

Though “Outer Heaven,” the second song on “Death to New Years,” is shorter in length, it is much greater in scope. This song incorporates multiple tonal shifts both lyrically and instrumentally with the guitars and drums rising and falling in urgency. The groove toward the end is one of the most memorable moments in The World is a Beautiful Place’s discography.

Lyrically, the band explores a couple of the main themes touched upon in their previous work. Specifically the ever-changing definition of “home,” which was debated in depth on their debut album “Whenever, If Ever” and the scale of individuals when compared to the universe, which was the basis for their 2014 collaboration with poet Chris Zizzamia.

Yes, these topics have been written about for quite some time, but, as always, they put a unique personal twist on them and the instrumentation complements the lyrics beautifully.

The band’s first release of 2016, “Long Live Happy Birthday” is a sister EP to “Death to New Years.”

Once again, we have a nice little two-song EP clocking in at just under eight and a half minutes. Both tracks were written alongside “Harmlessness.”

Track one, “Even More Forever,” tackles issues of helping friends through addiction and trying to live on minimum wage, again bringing up themes of “Home.” Instrumentally, it isn’t much – this is clearly a lyrically-driven tune.

This EP truly shines in the second track, “Katamari Duquette.” The first quarter of the song is a mellow groove before it transitions into a post-rock crescendo filled with heavy lead guitars, droning rhythm guitars and double-kicked bass drums. All while Bello’s nasally voice repeats “Away with god, away with love/Our hands are tied and stepped on,” creating a dreary, yet somehow beautiful atmosphere.

The climax of the song and this set of EPs features all of this built-up instrumentation collapsing in upon itself while throwing in some violin for good measure. This is definitely the most intense the band has ever sounded.

If this latest EP is hinting at a new, louder direction in the band’s sound for future releases, then the future is bright for The World is a Beautiful Place.

One dollar for every physical copy of “Death to New Years” and “Long Live Happy Birthday” ordered from Topshelf Records’ website will go towards Pittsburgh Action Against Rape.

The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die’s entire discography is available on their bandcamp page for a very reasonable price.

Check out the EP below

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