Sound — 8
The Almost has gone from being basically one man recording all the instruments and singing to release his debut Southern Weather, to a set 4-peice band to come back with their sophomore effort: Monster Monster. After hearing bits and peices of songs and all of "Hands" & "Lonely Wheel", I was pretty pumped to hear what Aaron Gillepsie had done with his sound and what influence three other people had on him. So did they change their sound? Fortunately, only slightly. What they did was take The Almost, improve it so it wasn't exactly the same, and even incorporated some new elements into some songs. The sound of Southern Weather is there, but it's clear that the band wanted to take a small step in a new direction. The album starts off with Monster Monster. The title track introduces their experimentation. It's aggressive like Say This Sooner, but it's got something their first album didn't have...guitar solos! This song is fast-paced and heavy. Not heavy like Say This Sooner, their last opening song, but one of the more heavy parts of this album. Next on the tracklist is their second single Lonely Wheel. This is an encouraging, upbeat song, the guitar is good with more lead guitar in the background. It also has a hint of the Souther Weather album style. No I Don't is a half-acoustic song, a not-so-new element to The Almost. It has a country sound to it, like Dirty and Left Out off of Southern Weather. The chorus is catchy with more guitar lead in it, with positive lyrics. It's not so much heavy as it is just another good upbeat song. Their first single "Hands" begs for radio play, being the more poppy song with beautiful piano peices to start it out and gang vocals in the chorus. There is no question here why this was picked as their leading single. Aaron's heavier side begins to show again with Young Again. It begins with an aggressive guitar riff, with lyrics to match it. Aaron attempts his yell/scream kind of thing in this song. The instrumentation is reminiscent to the song Southern Weather. Then the album slows down again with one of my favorite songs on the album- Summer Summer. It starts off with a slow lead guitar and it stays slow through the verse. The chorus is poppy but the climax of the song. a very well done, emotional song. Monster Monster continues the slow tempo of the album with Hand Grenade. This is a completely acoustic song with the country sound almost exactly like Dirty and Left Out. Although it's country and slow, it's still a very good song. One of the weaker tracks, Books and Books, brings back the aggressiveness and heaviness of the album back. Aaron sounds kind of angry and sarcastic throughout the whole song. The drums are good in this song and they use a lot of effects and feedback. The chorus is slower than the rest, then the bridge includes a guitar solo. Souls on Ten is just a good mood, summery (?) kind of song. It's got a piano in it and a cheerfull sound to it. Just about being out with the one you love and not worrying about anything. "Want To" and "Get Through" seem like fillers before the six minute long closer "Monster". Monster is another acoustic song. Overall it seems like The Almost experimented with their softer side, included more upbeat, happier songs, and kept some of the heaviest elements of Southern Weather. If you liked their debut, I would give Monster Monster a try.
Lyrics — 8
There's no doubt that Aaron Gillepsie can sing. He's got a wide range, going from the lows to a whiny, but not annoying, high voice. He's a unique singer and musician, and he deserves to have a lead singing part, unlike his other band, UnderATH. As for the lyrics, they're good, but not Spencer Chamberlain or Stephen Christian lyrics. The lyrics on Monster Monster range from forgivness (Hand Grenade) to friendship (Summer Summer) to comfort (Lonely Wheel) to just having a good time (Souls on Ten) to other subjects (Rest of Songs; P) Most of the songs are easy to figure out the general meaning, and although Aaron Gillepsie is a devout Christian, not all the songs are based around Christianity. That being said, The Almost is for any audiance who likes just a relaxed rock.
Overall Impression — 8
My overall impression: well it's not an UnderATH album, but it's not supposed to be. It's better than Southern Weather in my opinion because it's got more diversity than their debut. They're now a full band and not just Aaron G. anymore so it's not just one person's ideas. The only thing I have a problem with is that the slower songs aren't spaced out enough. For example, the first song is heavy, then Lonely Wheel isn't as heavy, and then No I Don't is acoustic. Again, Summer Summer is followed by Hand Grenade. The other thing is that the album could've left out Want To and Get Through. But with those things aside it is a very good album. Considering that I don't actually own the album- it's my brother who does- I wouldn't go and buy another copy if a lost it. I would make him do it. Best Songs: Lonely Wheel, No I Don't, Hands, Summer Summer, Souls On Ten.