The large-ensemble group the World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die formed in 2009 in Willimantic, Connecticut, drawing inspiration for their somewhat atmospheric emo/indie sound from giants of the genre such as Sunny Day Real Estate
and Cap'n Jazz
, but also incorporating some of the drawn-out orchestration of Godspeed You!
Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky
. The group went through multiple lineup changes but eventually centered around a core of vocalist David Bello, bassist Josh Cyr, guitarists Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak and Greg Horbal, drummer Steven Buttery, and additional musicians Julia Peters, Katie Shanholtzer-Dvorak, and Chris Teti. The group released a series of demos, singles, and EPs as well as a split LP with friends Deer Leap
before releasing its debut full-length, Whenever, If Ever, in 2013. A collaboration with poet Christopher Zizzamia, the Between Bodies EP appeared the following year, and their sophomore LP, Harmlessness, arrived in autumn 2015 minus Peters and plus guitarist Tyler Bussey and violinist Nick Kwas. The band took a more collaborative approach on its third LP, 2017's Always Foreign, resulting in a deeply nuanced but fiery tone. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi