By Allyson Bills
You can blame Fall Out Boy for modern “emo” bands having obnoxiously long song titles or even band names. The band from Willimantic, a village in Connecticut, called The World Is A Beautiful Place And I’m No Longer Afraid To Die (TWIABP & INLATD) is a mouthful to say the least. Since TWIABP & INLATD’s inception in 2009, they have undergone numerous line-up changes. With the recording of their current release, a seven-inch titled Long Live Happy Birthday, TWIABP & INLATD boasts the present line-up of: vocalist David Bello, bassist Josh Cyr, guitarist-vocalist Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak, drummer Steven Buttery, guitarist-trumpeter Chris Teti, guitarist-vocalist Dylan Balliett, keyboardist-vocalist Katie Shanholtzer-Dvorak, and guitarist-vocalist Tyler Bussey.
The two tracks on Long Live Happy Birthday were recorded simultaneously with their 2015 full-length release, Harmlessness, and produced by Teti at Silver Bullet. As a longtime casual listener to TWIABP & INLATD, the songs on Long Live Happy Birthday were the best the band has ever written.
The seven-inch begins with “Even More Forever,” a track that has a heavy Explosions In The Sky influence with pulsating keyboards. The lyrical content is quite an improvement than what is found on their complimentary release Harmlessness, about the singer attempting to find their way out of the dark, something we all have experienced: “We haven’t seen the sun in 27 years // We’ve been waiting in a quarter life, we’re animals.” What I’ve always found problematic with TWIABP & INLATD is sometimes their songs go on longer than necessary. However, “Even More Forever” clocks in at 3:54-just the right amount of time for this atmospheric emo track.
In “Katamari Duquette,” a dark, brooding tune, which has a searing buildup at the 1:45 mark that deviates away from their prog-emo roots, in a good way. What makes “Katamari Duquette” so awesome is that, while there are eight people playing in this song, they are so cohesive. This aspect tends to be absent at times in TWIABP & INLATD’s other material when it often sounds awkward and out of synch. Especially toward the end of the song, I loved the quiet breaks and a capella moment that made “Katamari Duquette” even more beautiful.
Out of all the material that TWIABP & INLATD has released thus far, Long Live Happy Birthday will be one of their greatest and most cult-like among fans. The issue with TWIABP & INLATD is that they have released a full-length every year since 2013. Sometimes when this happens, a band’s creativity begins to wane and their music goes through the motions. That’s what I currently see happening with TWIABP & INLATD, and Long Live Happy Birthday will be the release that will reinvigorate their creativity.