Release Date: Apr 3, 2007
Label: Tooth & Nail
Genres: Alternative CCM, Post-Hardcore
Number Of Tracks: 11
Underoath drummer/vocalist Aaron Roderick Gillespie explore his pop-rock side in his latest project The Almost.
UG Team, on april 19, 2007 3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: It will be interesting to hear what Underoath fans will think of this one. The new release from The Almost, or Underoath drummer/vocalist Aaron Gillespie's (for the most part) one-man band, sounds very little like the Christian post-hardcore work you've heard from him in the past. Rather than writing songs heavy on melodic guitars and screams like he did in Underoath, Gillespie has actually gone in a very back-to-basics, pop-rock direction. The Almost's debut record Southern Weather never does feel like it's the creation of just one person, with plenty of instrumental layering and hi-quality production. The only problem comes in the fact that the album's collection of songs tend to rely a little to sound a bit too much like a lot of other pop rock out there.
Gillespie has always brought a very strong presence to Underoath with his amazing percussion and strong, melodic vocals. Those areas continue to shine on Southern Weather, without a doubt. But the songwriting is not always consistent and is a big jump from the harder edge heard in Underoath. The opening track Say This Sooner has it's moments, using alternating electric and acoustic guitars, which is a fantastic touch that keeps it interesting. That up-and-down momentum is a great way to start the album and deserves to be a hit single. Some of the other up-tempo songs like Drive There Now, however, stay too safe in terms of the usual pop-rock format, though.
Southern Weather does have it's moments where the usual pop-rock format takes a left turn and something out of the ordinary pops up. It's during the instances featuring atypical pop-rock formats that the album stands out the most. The best example comes in the ballad Dirty And Left Out, which you might assume to be like every other emo love song out there. Thankfully Gillespie goes in a different direction, using pedal steel and an organ-like keyboard to give an almost bluesy feel. That track stands out as being the most stripped-down, yet still the most honest and well-executed song on the playlist.
Gillespie surprises the listener a few more times throughout the course of Southern Weather, at one point even adding the Youth Group at Calvary Fellowship Choir in Amazing Because It Is. At this close there's also what sounds like a Beatles-esque Mellotron being played in the closing track Everything That Makes Me Sick. While a Mellotron doesn't appear to be listed in the credits, just the fact that Gillespie is trying out unique sounds shows that he is thinking outside of the box. // 8
Lyrics: Much like his other project Underoath, Gillespie only makes slight references to his Christian faith in the lyrical content. He instead focuses on human emotions and situations, and delivers solid lyrics along the way.
In the title track Southern Weather, Gillespie explores a relationship where he tends to get blamed various things. He sings, If my faults are your song; Then I will not be content to sing along; If I'm the one that's got you so out of touch. The heavy emotional content heard on the album does suit the music beneath it and shouldn't scare away fans of Underoath too much. // 8
Overall Impression: The Almost will most certainly find a fan base while on tour this summer with it's collection of catchy and easily accessible songs, and Gillespie deserves attention for attempting a large-scale project by himself. While there are a lot of supporting musicians and vocalists involved in Southern Weather, Gillespie still is listed as playing pretty much all of the primary instruments.
The songs do tend to be very pop-rock oriented, so it's hard to say if all Underoath fans can make the transition to The Almost. The songs on Southern Weather don't quite pull you in as much as Underoath's work in terms of unique songwriting, but that's not to say Gillespie can't write a likeable pop-rock song. // 8
KsE_Fan220, on april 19, 2007 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Straight from Underoath, you would think that Aaron Gillespie would have a harder edge to his music, but combining Emocore, Indie, Southern Rock, and even Bluegrass his sound has an absolutely great and diverse feel to it. On songs like "Amazing Because It Is" and "Dirty and Left Out", he brings a Singer/Songwriter style to the table and contrast it with the songs "Say This Sooner", "Never Say 'I Told You So'", and "I Mostly Copy Other People" to give a harder and sharper edge to the CD. // 10
Lyrics: Hymns, spirituals, and symbolic lyrics are all present in "Southern Weather". Gillespie takes some of his vocals from Underoath and some of his own seperate vocal talents to the CD. "Amazing Because It Is" brings some of the most tear-wrenching lyrics I have ever heard, combining lyrics from "Amazing Grace" and personally written material (though spirituals and hymns usually get to me). a lot of "Southern Weather" was written due to Gillespie's anxiety disorder, hence the lines from "Say This Sooner" saying, "No one will ever say things the way I do, no one will try. All my friends think that I'm gone, but I swear I'm not." Aaron Sprinkle really brought that little bit of what the CD needed on the song "Never Say 'I Told You So'". Lyrically, Gillespie rocked! // 9
Overall Impression: For a debut CD, Gillespie held no punches and was absoulutey great lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally. Everything is balenced out, and even if you were expecting something a little harder it is something worth checking out. If anyone had ever stole it, I would first beat the crap out of them, then buy them the CD, then give them a good stereo just so they could listen to it. I love it and would definately recommend it. // 10
buriedxaxlie, on may 21, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: If you were expecting hardcore music Aaron like he gave us in Underoath, this album is not even close. It definately has a pop/rock feel to it. It's a great CD, that you're going to want to listen to over and over again. It's amazing that he's playing all the instruments in the band. It's very well produced and fun to listen to. The songs also have the perfect blend of slower songs and more upbeat songs. Although if you're expecting Underoath you may be dissapointed. Some songs sound a little the same, but if you keep listening you'll find that you'll like them. // 8
Lyrics: His lyrics are close to those of Underoath's. He doesn't give a lot of reference to God, but mostly leaves his lyrics open ended so that you can fill in the gaps as to what he's referring to even though we all know he's talking about his religion. There's only a few songs where he actually comes out and starts singing about Jesus and God. So if you're religious you'll still get what you're looking for, and if you're not religious don't worry, it'll still be fine. // 10
Overall Impression: I know some people enjoyed listening to Aaron's vocals in Underoath but didn't like the screaming. If you were one of those people this album is definately for you. He is a wonderful vocalist, and you will not be dissapointed. With some slow songs and some upbeat ones this album is good for everyone. It's overall a pretty good CD. // 8