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PO: TWIABP - Illusory Walls (10/8/2021)


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11 minutes ago, The Fuck Whisperer said:

Fair enough. It isn't terrible but doesn't compare to the band when Nicole was a member for me. I still don't fully trust you (😄) but would you say the new album has a chance at topping either of the first two for you?

It’s too soon to say but I cannot see it topping the first two records simply because those are legendary records 

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Honestly dig the song, almost more than anything off the last album so went for it. Never seen the band live. Debating that, but just payed way too much for Jeff Rosenstock tickets.

They show all the variants on their website. http://theworldisabeautifulplace.com/

So It's:
Purple - Band Store Exclusive

Olive Green - EU Exclusive

Galaxy Blue/Orange - Tour Exclusive/EU Exclusive

Clear - Indie Store Exclusive

Translucent Orange - Deathwish Exclusive

Black - Everywhere else

EDIT:
The write up on their website makes me less skeptical. Says they recorded the last album in 3 weeks, the final track on this one took almost as long.

Also from writeup: "This album feels like a rebirth,” he says. “I didn’t want to just flatline the band. With the previous record, I feel we were kind of just coasting along, so my view for this was that shit had to change. Otherwise, what’s the point? We needed to get something out of it artistically to be happy with it. So I kind of viewed this record as a make or break. If I wasn’t confident in it at the end and it didn’t shake up something with the band musically, there was no point.

Edited by MCDELTAT
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1 hour ago, The Fuck Whisperer said:

See I'm always at least 88% right.

 

Edit: looks like they changed it

Damn. Should have ordered at $21.99. I am going to buy it at some point, but unsure where/how.

 

I for one am digging the new song and like it better than all the songs on "Always Foreign" (maybe not saying much, but I do enjoy that LP). All the member changes are confusing, but I think the current line-up is well-formed and tight. I saw them play a few years ago, and besides Bello not being able to sing a lick, they sounded great.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
9 minutes ago, MacDonals said:

I became very skeptical if this band could still make a good album. Derrick/Nicole (who was their major songwriter) left and attempted to cancel the band, then they put out the stinker album, Always Foreign. I thought I was done with them, but this album is fantastic. I may have to buy the record now.

I'm with you on 100% of this.  Truly thought I was done with this band in 2021, but the singles [as I mentioned] were all better than anything I had heard on Always Foreign.  I don't think that this new one taps into the magic and atmosphere of their earlier stuff – especially Whenever, If Ever – but it does strike me as being its own animal.  And it's a feral one that isn't the docile snooze-fest that their last record was.

 

Off the bat, I do feel like we're getting 2 mini-albums in one, and that's a big part of the appeal to me.  The first 9 tracks – presumably the A/B – seem to me like they're a continuation of the band's evolution.  I do kind of like the bite that a lot of them have.  I think they're way less post-rock, cathartic, or dreamy like most of W,IE's soundscapes... and more like bigger, badder versions of Harmlessness' more direct cuts.  I thought I read that the main guitarist handled the production this time around?  It shows.  The guitar work is interesting and has some fantastic moments, but it also dips its toes a little too far into prog territory at times.  It's weird; I'm trying to get used to it.  Not quite masturbatory levels of technicality – they're not aping Dream Theater [yet] – but it's just not a sound I'd affiliate with TWIABP.  I would agree with anyone who may insist that the guitars (quite regularly) sound like they've been plucked right off of a new Coheed album.  Just not my bag.  But I do think that there are enough redeeming moments and elements to the songs that they're not a real deterrent, for me.

 

The last 2 tracks outshine the first 9 for me.  Even if the band decided they were going to write and record them just to appeal to the older fanbase... they got me.  I won't spoil too much but that closer really does encompass "the history of the band" or whatever that initial press release said.  There are elements [and even lyrics] from "simpler times" woven in there, making for a real throwback without just copy-pasting the exact songs from 2013.  I could see why some people may perceive it as lazy or cheap... drawing too deep from the well of 8 years ago, maybe?  But I enjoy it.  Feels like a snapshot of where the band came from, paying some homage to their roots while also crafting their own behemoth of a song in the process.  I would probably be more offended if this lineup just phoned it in and tried to regurgitate an abandoned sound that they didn't write in the first place, in an attempt to win back older fans.  For me, those last two tracks walk a nice line of blending new and old.  I think the extra time they put into writing those tracks really shows.

 

I'm curious to see what repeated listens may reveal and how the total package holds up.  But yeah... way better than anything this lineup has been up to in recent years.

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3 hours ago, Derek™ said:

I thought I read that the main guitarist handled the production this time around?  It shows. 

Don't want to bother with quoting each section of your post that I'm referring to. Hasn't Chris always produced the records? The credits on Discogs aren't that well filled out, which might be my job for this weekend, but I know they've pretty much always recorded at Silver Bullet, where he works. Recommend that article Drew posted just above this for some great insight.

I think the problem with Always Foreign is fairly obvious from that story and many others. Having just lost a ton of members, label pressed them on an album in case things went bad. In the article above he says they recorded everything in 4 weeks, which for a band known for layers and experimentation, isn't enough. Again, from the article above, Chris finally realized 'hey, I'm the only guitarist now, that means all the dynamics, all the new sounds, all that depends on me' and once he figured that out, it sounds like he was really happy to just be able to write cool stuff again and go crazy. Also sounds like the pandemic and few other things helped, both in terms of time, and the ability to be separated and write on their own. From this article and the article about Katie in Ladyfuzz, "Queen Sophie" wouldn't have existed in other incarnations of the band. It took a while to develop it and for her to have space to sing on her own not crowded out by other amazing musicians.

I'm loving this record personally. Hoping to get a listen in where I can read through the lyrics and just focus on it. Too bad the vinyl won't be here for 2+ more months.

Also upset I won't be able see them live. Flying to SF to check out future homes on the 23rd, which is when they play in LA, then the 24th they're in SF. Hope we'll get another full US tour so I can see them.

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2 hours ago, MCDELTAT said:

Hasn't Chris always produced the records?

Maybe?  Probably.  I've never been obsessive about the band – I will take your word for it, and MacDonals' above, too.  Whoever produced prior records, and whoever produced this one, regardless... I'm just saying that the guitar sounds especially dominant in the mix this time around.  Not a complaint on my end, or anything.  (I typically gravitate towards guitars in the music I listen to.)

 

Quote

Recommend that article Drew posted just above this for some great insight.

I tried it.  I get that it's a written record – verbatim – of the phone convo, but a quarter of the way in I just got exhausted.

 

like.png

 

Quote

I think the problem with Always Foreign is fairly obvious from that story and many others. Having just lost a ton of members, label pressed them on an album in case things went bad. In the article above he says they recorded everything in 4 weeks, which for a band known for layers and experimentation, isn't enough. Again, from the article above, Chris finally realized 'hey, I'm the only guitarist now, that means all the dynamics, all the new sounds, all that depends on me' and once he figured that out, it sounds like he was really happy to just be able to write cool stuff again and go crazy. Also sounds like the pandemic and few other things helped, both in terms of time, and the ability to be separated and write on their own. From this article and the article about Katie in Ladyfuzz, "Queen Sophie" wouldn't have existed in other incarnations of the band. It took a while to develop it and for her to have space to sing on her own not crowded out by other amazing musicians.

Yeah... it had to be a pretty tumultuous time for the band and their prior lineup, leading into Always Foreign.  I have no doubt about that.  I know you probably weren't necessarily trying to defend the record or explain why I'm being too harsh on it... but just speaking bluntly and taking the album at face value, it doesn't do anything for me in the slightest.  Bummer history or not, you know?  Whether it was a result of a shakeup with the contributors, or an unforgiving time window they had to work with... ultimately it doesn't really matter when the end product is such a swing and a miss.  It's cool that this new album is back on the rails, albeit quite a different track and direction to go in.

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21 minutes ago, Derek™ said:

I tried it.  I get that it's a written record – verbatim – of the phone convo, but a quarter of the way in I just got exhausted.

Lol same. It was kinda a hard read. If it had been audio it probably would have made more sense. I had to mentally read it given other video interviews of him talking. But good info if you can finish.

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