The Almost
Southern Weather


3.5
great

Review

by Nathaniel Fritz USER (17 Reviews)
October 25th, 2007 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Those of you wondering what would happen if Underoath's drummer had his own band need not wonder anymore.

The following statement is rather close to a sweeping generalization and I don’t know if it helps anyone other than me – but as my grandfather might say, if you’re going to say something stupid, you might as well release it into the public domain so that millions upon millions of people for generation after generation may be able to look at that stupid statement and ROFL (my grandfather is very much in touch with the internet lingo of this generation). Basically, the way I see it, side projects or supergroups can be roughly divided into three categories:

a): A critically acclaimed and/or popular artist who focuses on a different genre but whose work is usually up to the same quality of the main band (i.e. The Postal Service, Thom Yorke)

b): A popular artist who gets tired of writing for the masses and gets in touch with his artistic side (i.e. Jack’s Mannequin, Angels and Airwaves)

c): A critically acclaimed artist who releases material that is much more accessible and mainstream and/or crappy (i.e. Audioslave, A Perfect Circle)

The Almost, Underoath drummer/vocalist Aaron Gillespie’s alternative/pop-punk side project, doesn’t fit perfectly in the last category – after all, despite what Define the Great Line did for their credibility, Underoath remains despised by a good many. There’s no question, however, that The Almost’s debut, Southern Weather, is far more TRL-ready than any Underoath disc not named They’re Only Chasing Safety. Southern Weather is basically a collection of big hooks and choruses arranged in a formulaic manner ready for the average Fall Out Boy or Taking Back Sunday fan to consume; there are no weird time changes or E-bows or even choirs of layered vocals to be found.

But don’t equate accessibility with low quality in this case. Gillespie apparently has hooks coming out the wazoo, and with Seattle producer Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, Emery) giving the disc the “Tooth & Nail treatment,” each song on Southern Weather is eminently catchy and well-constructed. Though far less imagination was put into it than Define the Great Line, Southern Weather is a carefree, fun album that seems perfect for summer (at this point, this is admittedly of more relevance to our Australian and other Southern Hemispherean readers).

Gillespie recorded Southern Weather in the months after Underoath finished working on Define the Great Line and did almost all of the instrumentation himself. As you might expect, Gillespie’s drumwork is excellent; not up to Define the Great Line’s brilliance, but still one of the best in the genre. The quality of the guitar and bass are obviously greater reasons for worry, given Gillespie’s previously unproven ability at those instruments, but there is no need to worry. Though certainly nowhere near the level of his drumming, Gillespie’s guitars are effectively workmanlike and don’t get in the way of the album’s catchy choruses, which are what this record is all about.

Aside from the country-tinged acoustic “Dirty and Left Out” (featuring the vocals of Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk) and the amazingly awkward “Amazing Grace” remake “Amazing Because It Is”, there is little variation to be found on Southern Weather; think TOCS-era Underoath without Spencer (this is a plus for many) or the emotional buildups and breakdowns. Gillespie sometimes strains or forces his vocals a bit too much, particularly on “Amazing Because It Is” and the end of “Everyone Here Smells Like a Rat”, but the transition from occasional-vocalist to frontman is mostly a seamless one. The biggest problem with the record is its self-contained boundaries; because Gillespie wanders so little from the beaten path, Southern Weather can’t really be considered anything more than a singles record and does nothing in the least to upstage his other band.

But then again the point of The Almost was never to imitate or outdo Underoath; Gillespie apparently just had a hankering to try his hand at making fun sing-alongs. Some critics may listen to this and ask “Why?” It’s a fair question; Southern Weather isn’t any sort of mind-blowing entry into the most crowded genre in popular music. But it is an undeniably catchy and fun record that doesn’t carry any sort of pretense that seems to dog the top bands in the genre. In this respect, a better question might be “Why not?”

Recommended Tracks:

Say This Sooner

Drive There Now

Everything That Makes Me Sick



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user ratings (433)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
gasmaskman
October 25th 2007


1006 Comments


I absolutely hate this band.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2007


15737 Comments


I'm floored that this hasn't been reviewed yet.

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

roofi
October 25th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Actually, I think it was, but it got removed for some reason that I'm not aware of.

MediocreAtBest
October 25th 2007


1473 Comments


You're right about the catchiness; I couldn't get Say This Sooner out of my head for weeks.
Pretty much, your review is right on, but it seems like the review implies that you would rate it lower than you did. Maybe it's just me.This Message Edited On 10.25.07

roofi
October 25th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I do use "catchy" a lot in the review and that's usually an expletive on this site, so I could see how you might think that. There are some really freaking good songs on here, though.

MediocreAtBest
October 25th 2007


1473 Comments


Dirty and Left Out and Amazing Because It Is are actually some of my favs off the album.
But I do wish Aaron could write better lyrics.

roofi
October 25th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, agreed. Not a big fan myself of lines like "This is so the truth" or "Why do you wanna be all listening to me." "Dirty and Left Out" sort of grew on me; I moderately enjoy that song. "Amazing Because It Is" just sounds forced to me, though.

MediocreAtBest
October 25th 2007


1473 Comments


Yeah it does sound a little forced. That choir makes up for his whining tho. Actually he's not whining because it's an uplifting subject but he whine-sings it anyway.

roofi
October 25th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i just wanna seeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!
Yeah, in other words, I don't like that song much at all. The rest of the CD is good, though.
This Message Edited On 10.25.07

AtavanHalen
October 25th 2007


17927 Comments


Aaron's my favourite member of Underoath, and this album isn't bad at all. It's no Define The Great Line, but that's fine by me.

Good review, too!

cbmartinez
October 25th 2007


2525 Comments


Saw this band live and they were absolutely terrible. Not any better on record either.

foreverendeared
October 31st 2007


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is a really great review. i dont understand why no one has voted for this review because it is ace. extremely well written. and the closing paragraph is great A++++++ review

this is an enjoyable album. and i personally think define the great line was amazing. i also think the fact that Aaron does all the main instruments himself on this album is incredible.

roofi
October 31st 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just so everyone else knows, foreverendeared isn't related to me at all.

Thanks for the kudos, dude; your thoughts on this disc and Define the Great Line seem to be very much the same as mine.

ninjuice
November 2nd 2007


6760 Comments


I didn't realize until I heard Say This Sooner that I find Aaron's voice somewhat annoying.

I don't like Underoath that much, and considering this is a punk-ish side project I'd probably not like or despise this.

roofi
November 2nd 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, how much you like The Almost is pretty much directly tied to how much you like Underoath.

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 2nd 2007


6094 Comments


No, not really.

roofi
November 2nd 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, They're Only Chasing Safety-era Underoath at least.

tchitch
December 29th 2007


15 Comments


Are you stupid? There is a choir in Amazing Because it is. among others layered vocals. And simply because it's catchy means it's crappy? Learn to judge music for music, not for whether it's liked by others or not. Aaron Gillespie is one of the greatest vocalist I've ever heard, possibly my favorite singer. This album isn't the best album in the world, but it's pretty damn good.This Message Edited On 12.29.07

roofi
December 29th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What the hell are you talking about?

Jerrydavidson
December 29th 2007


102 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, kinda random.

I've always found his voice some what annoying, but that's just me. The album is ok, but not really anything original. "Amazing because it is" is a good track, but doesn't go well with is voice.



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