Review: The Almost – Monster Monster EP


Tooth & Nail

Released October 25 2010

Reviewed By Tyler Hess

I know what you’re thinking, haven’t we been through this before?  Well, yes and no.  I mean, The Almost has come out with “Monster EP”, “Monster Monster”, “Monster Monster Deluxe”, and have the songs “Monster” and “Monster Monster”.  Now we have “Monster Monster EP” and “Monster Monster EP Deluxe”?  That is a whole lot of monster going on there, so let’s clear this up a bit.  The EP I’m talking about right here is basically the five songs that are on the full length deluxe edition of “Monster Monster”, but not on the regular edition.  Confused?  Good.

Now, I don’t have the videos on here, so I can’t really talk about what is on the deluxe edition, but if you happen to know how to use youtube because you haven’t been stuck under a rock for the past half decade, then you can surely look up the videos for “Hands”, “Lonely Wheel”, “No I Don’t” and “Monster Monster” and get a pretty good idea what is going on there.

If you have been around CMZ for awhile then you might recall that the regular edition of Monster Monster was pretty much a huge disappointment for me when it came out last year, as I’m a big fan in general of the music that Aaron Gillespie has been involved in, from Underoath to The Almost’s debut album, “Southern Weather” and the following “No Gift To Bring EP”.  Yet, Monster Monster had only a couple of songs that I really, really dug, a few that were alright, and a bunch that were just down right ignorable.  When I finally brought myself to listen to what we would pretty much call “B-sides” or bonus songs or whatever we feel like at the time, I pretty much expected more of the same.  What I discovered may surprise you, as it certainly surprised me.  What I found was that I actually like these five songs better than I like most of the latter portion of the full length and it makes me wonder how the song selection process went down when it came to “Monster Monster” being released in the first place.  Truthfully, as strange as it sounds and as much as it rarely ever happens in the industry, I personally would have preferred it if they would have broken this up into a set of EP’s (much like Thrice’s Alchemy Index) so that it didn’t feel like it all ran together after about the fourth track.  I can’t do much about that, but let’s go ahead and take a look at this EP and see what we hear here.

This EP starts off with a really short pop rock song in “Birmingham” and could almost fit as a recent Hawk Nelson song if it weren’t for Gillespie’s distinct vocals, as he proclaims a need for change, which considering Gillespie’s recent professional changes seems a bit prophetic.  “July” is up next with a more aggressive track and it seems like it would have fit perfectly with the theme of the regular edition of the album, as Gillespie talks about the ugliness of his situation.  I didn’t go so far as to look up any particular song meanings or look at back at interviews where Gillespie might have given specifics on such things, but “Wrong” seems like a pretty clear song about having a stupid argument with his wife, where both of them were wrong and acting dumb, but he wanted to remind her (and maybe himself) that he still loves her and that they can keep going forward despite the foolishness.  “Out West” comes up next and just details some of the little things that come along with being in a touring band and how much bands go through without a whole lot of money to go on.  “Me And Alone” finishes things up with a touch of melancholy and is a bit of a song of realization and a call back to the simplicity of faith.

In the end, I still think that Aaron Gillespie and his hired guns in The Almost still have some work to do to make this pop rock thing a cohesive unit that works, and I still find it strange that I like these songs a bit more than a lot of the full album, but I did find some kind of a redemption of hope within these five tracks.  Maybe I just don’t know how to mix my sentimentality with my criticism and I’m trying to not blow up the experimentation lab, but I do find some hope in these songs that The Almost still might make a great album someday and not just something hit or miss.  If you don’t already have these songs and you’re a big fan of the full length, then I’d suggest getting this with the videos, it just might make your day.

Grade: B-

Tracklisting:

  1. Birmingham
  2. July
  3. Wrong
  4. Out West
  5. Me And Alone
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