Connecticut's The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die isn't for the faint of heart. The band's records are cinematic in scope, telling stories that don't have definitive endpoints, instead using ambiguity to pack an emotional punch. On their new album, Always Foreign, the band embraces that all the more, turning in songs that churn slowly, balancing soaring harmonies against moments that linger in the disquiet. In many ways, "Marine Tigers" is a perfect encapsulation not just of the band's music, but the lyrical content that makes up Always Foreign.
The band's vocalist, David F. Bello, uses the title of his father José Bello's new book, Marine Tigers, which is about coming to New York from Puerto Rico in the 40s, to address xenophobia, and how across generations of Bello's family they've been subject to prejudice or discrimination for being immigrants or merely existing in predominantly white spaces. "This song, its video, and my father's new book all tell the story of being made to feel unwelcome, whether by a country, its people, its government, or all of the above," says Bello. "As we are flying back from our first, wonderful tour to Brazil, I could not be happier to release a song about my family's history with the United States."
Directed by Ryan Sheehy, the video echoes these struggles by using a protagonist with a third arm to express the feelings of fear, internalized shame, and anger that comes from being treated as an other. As the song builds, with some thundering percussion and choir-like vocal melodies, Bello lays out the song's central thesis: "Please remember as a person / It's the land that's always foreign." It's a line that lands hard, and it reinforces why the band wrote the song in the first place. "We wrote this in opposition to Donald Trump and all xenophobes," says Bello. In the course of the nearly eight-minute track, the band effectively distills this all in a way that puts the emphasis on the humanity of people who are often talked about in sweeping generalizations. "Marine Tigers" advocates for compassion, kindness, and acceptance at a time when we need it most.
Always Foreign is out September 29 on Epitaph Records.