I have spent the last five years since the release of Whenever, If Ever feeling like I was missing something with The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. 2015’s Harmlessness was lauded as a “rare feat” and a “perfect indie rock record.” For me, though, it was a good record with a few impressive songs. Perhaps I just didn’t get it at the time; maybe I never will.
However, as the release of the band’s third LP Always Foreign drew closer, my indifference toward the band was tested as I finally was able to connect to songs like “Gram.” All of a sudden, the intricate instrumentals were pushed to the background, and frontman David Bello’s lyrics were pushed to the edge of my conscience as he tenderly sang, “I’m sorry for being sorry because of anxiety.” It’s a lyric that’s so simple, yet undercuts a whole mental state — one with which I am intimately familiar — in just a few words.
Throughout the nearly 45 minutes of the record, The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die cover a ton of pertinent ground thematically and musically, conquering many of the preconceived notions that might have been held by listeners, myself included.