NPR logo Viking's Choice: The World Is A Beautiful Place, 'Katamari Duquette'

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Viking's Choice: The World Is A Beautiful Place, 'Katamari Duquette'

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die.

Courtesy of the artist

The darkness that pervades the music and characters of The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die tends to point inward, even as its subjects project outward upon the world around them. Even in the stellar "January 10th, 2014" from last year's Harmlessness, TWIABP expressed a harrowing and heroic story about vigilante justice with self-reflection. The band returns with the Long Live Happy Birthday 7" and this song — which, as vocalist David Bello writes to NPR, is "about getting lost in a darkened city and abandoning the warped memories of home and childhood in order to accept that all institutions are corrupt."

The B-side "Katamari Duquette," curiously named for Topshelf Records co-founder Kevin Duquette, might be the most desperately intense song in TWIABP's catalog, which is saying a lot. What begins with a waltzing and sparse melody befitting Pedro The Lion is soon draped in keyboards, violin and three guitars, all carefully intertwined. As the band swells and suddenly drops out, Bello sneers what should be an epiphany, but the words are broken by a warped memory: "Away with God, away with love / Our hands are tied and stepped on." The large ensemble returns to drive this mantra into cinematic post-hardcore oblivion, throttling it all the way into righteous anger.

Long Live Happy Birthday comes out March 25 on Topshelf.