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Album Review

The World Is A Beautiful Place – Harmlessness

The World Is A Beautiful Place - Harmlessness

A massive step up for an already much-loved band.

Label: Epitaph
Released: 25th September 2015

Rating: ★★★★★

TWIABP’s 2013 debut LP, ‘Whenever, If Ever’ arrived at the crest of the emo revival wave and is heralded as one of the best records to come from that period. The nine-piece band out of Connecticut brought intricately layered instrumentals, deeply emotive lyrics and enough melancholy to soundtrack a thousand rainy bus journeys. Since then, they’ve gone onto take part in a few smaller projects, including the fantastic ‘Between Bodies’, a collaborative EP with spoken word artist Chris Zizzamia, play support slots to the likes of Brand New, headline their own tours across the world and most recently sign to Epitaph Records. To say that there’s a buzz about this lot would be a huge understatement.

That buzz only intensified when the band released lead single, ‘January 10th’. That song, a sign of things to come, showcased the most developed form of TWIABP to date. Not only can they write emotive passages of music, but bloody hell! They can write massive, complete songs, too!

That’s the key difference between their two full-lengths; As great as their debut was, the sheer brilliance of the songwriting on ‘Harmlessness’ shows just how unrefined it was. It’s apparent from the very start of this record too, where opener, ‘You can’t Live Forever’ leads with gentle acoustic guitar plucking and softly sung vocal lines that eventually give way to a huge, swelling multi-instrument crescendo. It’s a brilliantly potent moment that’s just completely incomparable to anything TWIABP has done before.

Those moments aren’t rare here, either. For example, the aforementioned ‘January 10th’ uses its complexity and intensity to tell the tale of Diana, Hunter Of Bus Drivers – a true story about a woman who sought out and murdered bus drivers in the city of Juarez, Mexico in response to years of sexual violence they had committed on their routes. And on ‘Wendover’, there’s a delicate Modest Mouse-y vibe to the main body of the song, but then as you start to expect a fade-out, this otherworldly instrumental comes in and just doesn’t let up. It’s just bigger than you could ever expect.

In fact, virtually everything on this album is just ‘bigger’ than anything they’ve done before. It was hard to pinpoint exactly where the band could have improved before hearing this, but they’ve absolutely nailed it. A massive step up for an already much-loved band. Ryan DeFreitas