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Music Review: The Almost – Monster Monster

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Monster Monster is the full-length follow up to The Almost’s 2007 debut album, Southern Weather. The last two years have been formative for Aaron Gillespie. The Almost began as his side project (Gillespie is the drummer for the band Underoath), and he recorded every instrument himself on Southern Weather. After extensive touring, the band stepped back into the studio to record. The result is Monster Monster.

This album is more of a collaborative effort than the previous. Gillespie is supported by a full band playing alongside him, and this new addition serves to make a noticeable different sound. Full of upbeat, fast paced songs, Monster Monster definitely won’t disappoint longtime fans of The Almost who might be worried about a potential sophomore slump.

The eponymous album opener, “Monster Monster”, gets things started at a frantic pace as the lyrics repeat “You’ve gotta get here!” over and over. “Lonely Wheel” is another solid track that is reminiscent of some of The Almost’s earlier work. Most of the songs feature solid hooks over rousing, anthemic choruses sung by Gilliespie. The first single from the album, “Hands”, has an incredibly catchy chorus that just begs listeners to shout “Whoa Whoa Oh!/Whoa Whoa Oh!” along with Gillespie.

Two songs are more laid back and acoustic in the same vein of the outstanding 2008 release, the No Gift To Bring EP. “Hand Grenade” is one of these songs, and it utilizes a great extended metaphor throughout its duration. Gillespie sings, “If you’re an ocean/Then I wanna jump right in/If you’re a hand grenade/Then I’ll pull the pin”. Stirring piano accompanies the acoustic guitar in an excellent display the band integrating their best qualities together.

The liner notes feature lyrics for every song, in addition to some really nice photographs. The Almost have managed to meet if not exceed the high bar they set for themselves with their excellent debut album. A solid second album is always a good sign for a band’s longevity, and with Monster Monster The Almost show that they don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

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