One of the crazy things about getting older is you get to watch the stuff you grew up with age with you. Two-thousand-and-twelve was the year of ten-year anniversary tours. New Found Glory was celebrating Sticks and Stones; Taking Back Sunday had Tell All Your Friends, and Sum 41 toured for Does This Look Infected. All of those were foundational records to my teenage years. But when The Starting Line announced their tour for Say it Like You Mean it I was determined to be there at all costs. To make things better, The Almost was the opening act.
Even though I showed up halfway into his set there are a few things I remember about that performance. The first being Aaron Gillespie’s obnoxious personality; the second being the crowd’s aversion to it, and thirdly, the way he sang “Amazing Because it is.” Though The Almost wasn’t and isn’t a worship band, in that moment it didn’t matter if there were a thousand skeptics in the room, he was singing to God and you felt it. That’s when I knew what I kind of music I wanted to make for this EP.
If there’s one thing Monster Monster has over Southern Weather it’s diversity of sound. While Southern Weather wasn’t a bad debut, there’s a sense Gillespie only had two speeds: fast and loud or slow and dragged out. The result was that each song sounded relatively similar. Though Monster Monster might have taken some getting accustomed to, once you got used to it you probably recognized there was no going back to the first album. It was a gigantic step forward lyrically and musically. You can actually discern one song from another. Gillespie grew into his own for this album.
Like Relient K and Switchfoot, The Almost shows me what it looks like to be a Christian who writes music to God though it may not be explicitly about Him.