When you hear the word 'monster,' what springs to mind? Perhaps a
monster like a spooky Frankenstein creature? Or maybe the size like
big, large, huge? Either way, neither example apply to The Almost's
Monster EP since it contains only five songs and the scariest it gets
is the cute looking creature on the front of the EP. But the real
purpose of the five track EP is to get fans stoked about The Almost's
November 3rd release, Monster Monster.
Right away on "Lonely Wheel" the Monster EP sets fans up for the
music shift most likely to dominate Monster Monster. Instead of the
steady dose of edgy alternative rock which fueled The Almost's debut
project Southern Weather, "Lonely Wheel" features a more accessible,
smooth rock sound. Also, the catchier music, displayed on the very
likable rock song "Hands," sounds like an upbeat version of The Send.
The song could also be interpreted as a worship track when Aaron
Gillespie sings the chorus "With our hands held high, we're
singing/Whoa, whoa oh/Whoa, whoa oh/And with our feet we stomp a
cadence for you." The title track represents The Almost's most
complex work on the EP as the song mainly features an acoustic guitar
before following that up by a thrilling indie-influenced rock stanza.
"Monster" explores God's love even in our unattractive state while
also hinting at rejecting self-pity. What's not going to be on the
LP, and showcased on the EP, are two b-sides cuts which makes the EP
seem more like an investment rather than a straight preview. Although
"July" is essentially a one-dimensional, aggressive, guitar-driven
rock song, "Birmingham" is a catchy punk-edged song which acts as a
warning against complacency.
As one of the vocalists and drummer of the popular screamo rock band
Underoath, Aaron Gillespie has been able to transform his side
project into a full band and release the band's anticipated sophomore
project. The Monster EP does an excellent job of getting fans even
more excited for the Almost's first release in two and a half years
with their fine-tuned rock songs and interesting lyrics. However,
with the exception of the title track, the Monster EP is very
listenable and, should this be the chief sound that The Almost offers
on Monster Monster, it may alienate fans of hardcore alternative
rock. That being said, the Monster EP isn't very scary or large. It's
- Review date: 10/12/09, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Aaron Gillespie's brainchild The Almost took the rock scene by storm with
Southern Weather two years ago, and in preparation for the band's sophomore release Monster Monster,
pre-orders for the album exclusively from Hot Topic and live shows will be paired with Monster EP, a
collection of three studio tracks from the album plus two exclusive b-sides. Overall, it's a nice, well-rounded overview of
what one can expect from the full record. "Lonely Wheel" and "Hands" are both outstanding songs and they keep your interest
throughout with infectious guitar riffs and cleverly-placed handclaps, respectively. The b-sides "July" and "Birmingham"
also prove to be valuable b-sides no faithful fan of The Almost will want to pass up. It does puzzle me, however, why the
finale track to the full album, "Monster," is included here; it almost would have been better to save it for the real deal
for a better effect. But in any case, Monster EP is a novel concept to pre-ordering and I do hope more artists
will catch on with this idea in the future.
- Roger Gelwicks