Aggressive, expansive, and deeply thought-provoking, The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die released their awaited follow-up to 2015’s Harmlessness into the world. Always Foreign is a force to be reckoned with.
TWIABP Evolving Their Sound
A word of advice — don’t listen with lowered expectations. If you’re used to the melodic, calming undertones TWIABP is known for, don’t worry, you’ll get that — but there’s also notes of aggression, risk-taking, and uniformity of growth with the new record.
Starting off with “I’ll Make Everything,” the sound is the 2017 version of something you’d hear on the group’s debut, Whenever, If Ever. From there, the band spins out a sonic escapade into ventures virtually unseen by the band up to this point. It’s easy to point out the resistance in the album.
Lyrically, the album explores subjects that trace back to the current state of our union, drawing from personal experiences and allowing social commentary on what the country is going through. In fact, the album names come from the seven minute track “Marine Tigers,” a narrative about an immigrant experience. Deeply moving and deeply personal, “Marine Tigers” is simply gorgeous in its construction and execution.
Not only does TWIABP’s album get political, but it also highlights other real situations, such as emotional abuse and xenophobia.
A personal favorite, “For Robin” goes back to sounds similar to those of Harmlessness, but it comes with definition. There is a slow, dreamy harmonization in the background that’s the most hauntingly beautiful and melodic moment on the album. The lyrics dive into issues relating to former friends that do drugs, and it’s hard not to be moved by the song.
The full scope of Always Foreign is a work that analyzes things through art. The risks taken are careful and concrete; the record is not only for listening, it’s for experiencing. Always Foreign comes accompanied by tour dates. Regrettably, there will be a TWIABP fan missing from the Chicago date at my favorite venue, SubT, but this album promises one hell of a show. Check it out, evoke that emotion.
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