Last year, The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die‘s debut full-length, Whenever, If Ever, was critically acclaimed. Lauded as one of the best records of the “emo revival,” praise centered around the band’s extremely diverse sound, seamlessly blending pop hooks and post-rock builds into an emo sound. Then they announced a one-off EP with slam poet Chris Zizzimia. If critics were impressed with Whenever, If Ever, they’ll certainly be disappointed with Between Bodies.
It should be clear by now, the problem with Between Bodies is not The World Is’ musical talents – they’ve already proven their capabilities. The problem is not with new vocalist David F. Bello‘s quivery croons, which sound like a smoother version of ex-vocalist Thomas Diaz‘. No, the problem lies solely with Chris Zizzimia, his voice, and his lyrics.
“I am standing on the precipice,” he declares on “blank #8/Precipice.” It’s the first line of vocals heard on the album, after nearly three minutes of slow building guitars. It’s a jolting start to the album – Zizzimia sounds a bit like someone who’s constantly getting over a cold, and he’s always gasping for breath. Bello is by no means an exceptional vocalist, but songs like “Thanks” exemplify that he at the least has some semblance of melody – not to mention an obvious leg up when it comes to lyricism.
While he can craft lines like, “The world is a beautiful place/but we have to make it that way/if you’re afraid to die/then so am I,” Zizzimia contents himself by spewing things like, “Everyone here’s story has been/everyone here’s story since the big bang/and I’m not talking about your parents f***ing/or even your parents’ parents f***ing.” So it should go without saying that the two highlights of Between Bodies are “Thanks” and “$100 Tip,” the two songs that don’t feature Zizzimia. The former is an upbeat interlude of sorts to close out side A, featuring prominent vocals by keyboardist Katie Shanholtzer-Dvorak, and “$100 Tip” is a more downbeat track that really emphasizes Julia Peters‘ cello. It leads into “Autotonsorialist,” which is easily Zizzimia’s most bearable appearance on the album. Perhaps it’s because the track is so cluttered, his vocals thrown somewhere between the layers of beautiful shimmery guitar and Bello’s soothing croons. It’s an ideal way to end the release, a gorgeous song that shows that The World Is will not be defeated so easily, and it’s a good way to remind fans that they’ll only need to wait a few months before the band’s next slam poetry-less full-length.