Monster Monster (Deluxe Edition)
The Almost is Underoath drummer and sometime singer Aaron Gillespie's side project, and on this second full-length, it's a surprisingly mainstream rock radio-friendly outfit capable of cranking out hooky three-minute songs with the energy of the Foo Fighters at their most uptempo. Gillespie's a decent singer; he's a bit too nasal to appeal to grownups, but emo teens of both genders will almost certainly find him a compelling channel for their angst. He did everything on the band's debut, but formed a band for live performance in the aftermath; those players appear on this disc, with Gillespie doing double-duty behind the kit and the microphone. There's a reasonable amount of musical variety on Monster Monster, with keyboards adding a melancholy depth to some of the songs and acoustic guitars helping them get extra-meaningful on others. There's even a classic rock feel occasionally; "Summer Summer" sounds more like Tom Petty than Thrice or Thursday, but it's "Want To," the crunching power pop anthem "Get Through," and the title track that could most easily fit a rock radio playlist.