The Almost – Monster Monster EP
Record Label: Tooth and Nail Records
Release Date: October 25th 2010
Most people know Aaron Gillespie as being the drummer and clean vocalist of now defunct metalcore / post-hardcore band Underoath, but not many people seem to know that the ginger drummer also had (and still has) a pop-rock / indie rock side project called The Almost. It started off as a solo project and eventually morphed into a full band after 2007’s debut record Southern Weather. I got into Underoath around the summer of 2009 when a friend of mine recommended to them to me; after awhile, I put their records aside, but eventually came across The Almost’s 2009 sophomore record Monster Monster. While Southern Weather was a rather straightforward pop-rock and indie record, Monster Monster still continued on that, but also explored blues, and alt-country. Shortly afterwards, Gilliespie resigned from Underoath to make The Almost his priority. In 2010, the band released the aptly titled Monster Monster EP, which was merely composed of a few bonus tracks and b-sides from the album of the same name. I had been meaning to get a copy of this EP for a long time, but I wanted a physical copy of it, rather than a digital download. I managed to find a copy on clearance at a Hot Topic up north when I went a couple weeks ago, and since the band is releasing a new album in June called Fear Inside Our Bones, I decided to check it out. I was familiar with a few of the songs on the EP already, but I hadn’t listened to it in full, so I was very eager to bring it home. What I found when I listened to it as a whole was what I figured I’d find – a continuation of Monster Monster, so to speak. It’s more or less the same kinds of songs that were on the album, and in fact, a few of the songs on here were bonus tracks. With that being said, however, let’s not make a monster of the situation, and dive into this EP, shall we?
The EP begins with the shortest song on it entitled “Birmingham, which appeared on another EP by the band called Monster. It served as a “teaser” EP for the upcoming record, and it appeared along with “July,” which is the second track. The former is the shortest song on the EP, as I mentioned, and it begins with some chanting and Gillespie’s voice coming in a few seconds later. Despite being so short, at about 2 and a half minutes, this song packs quite a punch, especially with the hook. I absolutely love Gillespie’s voice, too; he absolutely kills it on this song, and this whole EP. Another thing that makes this track rather interesting is there’s a piano riff that weaves its way throughout the song at some points, which makes it quite interesting. It’s not the best track on the record, but it does start it off nicely. It’s good to start it off with a very infectious and catchy track. The latter, on the other hand, follows the same kind of formula. This is a rather aggressive track; “July” is a more “rock” oriented track. I don’t get why these were b-sides, because these two songs were absolutely fantastic, and easily could’ve fit on Monster Monster. This song also has a great chorus, too, and easily one of my favorites. My favorite track on the EP, however, is third track “Wrong.” This song is my favorite for a couple of reasons. Not only does it have a rather straightforward pop-rock sound, it also has something that’s rather new to Gillespie – rather cute lyrics. Not that he’s new to love songs, but he hasn’t written very many love songs, and this is the closest we, the listeners, have gotten to one. It’s a nice little song about how lucky Gillespie is to have his significant other, presumably his wife. The same can be said for fourth track “Out West,” too; it kind of continues the “cutesy” vibe, but the guitar riffs in this song have an alt-country vibe to them, similar to last track “Me and Alone,” which is the slowest song on the EP. That’s one reason why I’m so excited for the band’s new record, because if it continues the alt-country sound that Monster Monster and this EP had, I would be all over it. I’m not a huge country fan, but alt-country is a genre I enjoy from time to time.
Regardless, this EP is a great continuation to the record that it’s named after. On one hand, it doesn’t feel like a whole new collection of songs, but still work on their own. On the other hand, these songs could’ve easily fit within the record as well. It’s been a long while since I’ve listened to this band, and I’ve been meaning to listen to this EP, so I have something to tide me over until the band’s new record is released in June.