REVIEW: The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – ‘Between Bodies’

between bodies review twiabp

Artist: The World Is A Beautiful Place…
Album: Between Bodies
Label: Broken World Media
Genre: Post-Rock, Spoken Word

Every fan of music knows what it’s like to dislike a release from a band that used to be a favorite. It starts with the initial feeling of fear and trying to push through it enough to find something worthwhile about it. You start to wonder if the band has changed, or if you’ve simply outgrown the type of music that they’re playing. Maybe you’ll see an interview with one of the members later that describes what the band was trying to accomplish and some of the initial shock will subside in time. Regardless of what happens after that first listen, it hurts when an artist you love puts out material that you’re not a fan of.

Enter Between Bodies, the new EP from post-rock collective The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. I’ve listened to this EP countless times over the past week. I tried to work through the feeling of doubt and tried to understand what this release means in the context of their career. After the hours I’ve poured into tearing apart this EP and trying to “get it,” I’ve come to the conclusion that Between Bodies is so underwhelming and poorly done that this band has lost my trust for now, and I can no longer count on the group to release consistent, high-quality material.

The main issue with Between Bodies is the addition of spoken word poet Chris Zizzamia to the TWIABP fold. Now, I’ve often believed that artists must change and develop with each release in order to stay relevant and grow as musicians; even if stylistic changes are minimal, adding new elements to the artist’s craft is a crucial aspect of improving and making worthwhile art. However, collaborative efforts between established artists are extremely hit or miss outside of the rap world. Chris Zizzamia’s level of skill at spoken word poetry is far below the bar of talent set by the rest of the band, and his contributions add absolutely nothing of value to the band’s core sound.

Simply put, Zizzamia’s poetry is not good. Like that of a first-semester poetry student at a liberal arts college, the majority of Zizzamia’s poems mention space, the universe, or some derivative of celestial themes. Others topics move well past cringe-worthy territory into unintentionally funny range. I nearly spit out my drink when I heard “Everyone here’s story has been everyone here’s story since the Big Bang, and I’m not talking about your parents fucking, or their parents’ parents’ parents’ fucking” in “If And When I Die.” Aside from the poems themselves, which are mediocre at best, Zizzamia’s delivery is all over the place. Poor delivery constantly ruins moments that should be deep and introspective, like the loud and sudden outburst of “fuck that” after the first sentence in “Shopper’s Beef.” The voice crack during the first line in “blank #8 / Precipice” is painful to listen to, and from track one I was left wondering how anyone could listen to the final masters of this release and decide that it’s worthy of charging hard-earned money for.

Sonically, Between Bodies’ instrumentals are not that different from last year’s Whenever, If Ever. Ambient guitar tones with liberal use of delay, a broad range of musical timbre, and the surprisingly fitting synthesizer are present in the soundscape. However, the melodies are far less inspired than its predecessor — the arpeggiated riff in “Space Exploration To Solve Earthly Crises” is mind-numbingly boring, and without a well-done vocal performance to save it, the track is easily skip-able. “Lioness” inexplicably consists of nearly two minutes of pure guitar feedback and Zizzamia’s grating voice.

There are a few saving graces in the album, though. “Thanks” is an enjoyable, yet short song that features no spoken word. “$100 Tip” is most similar to the band’s previous work, and hopefully indicates the direction the band will be taking after this misstep. However, these two tracks are not enough to save the album. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever revisit this EP, and I will probably avoid any material that features Zizzamia’s work in the future. Hopefully, the band will bounce back next year with their proper sophomore album.

SCORE: 2.5/10
Review written by: John Bazley (love or hate him on Twitter)

John Bazley

John Bazley was raised in central New Jersey by the romantic aura of the Asbury Park beachfront, punk rock, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4. He is still trying to figure all of this stuff out.

In addition to UTG, John has contributed to Alternative Press and Full Frequency Media. Follow him on Twitter for pictures of his dog.
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