Almost, The – Fear Inside Our Bones
Record Label: Tooth and Nail Records
Release Date: June 11th 2013
Oh, what a long strange trip it’s been for Florida alternative band The Almost. First beginning as a side project for the ex-drummer/clean vocalist of Underoath Aaron Gillespie, The Almost has turned into a full band project for the ginger in the last few years, and with that, their overall sound has changed. It’s insane to see how progression can influence a band, but to see what I mean, let’s briefly talk about The Almost’s first two albums to get an idea of what they sounded like. For starters, debut record Southern Weather was a very straightforward pop-punk and pop-rock record, and while it was enjoyable, it was merely a glimpse of what was to come for the band. I didn’t end up getting into the band until sophomore record Monster Monster, though. That record was a bit different, however; it was still pop-rock with pop-punk sensibility, but it also included some alternative rock and alternative country influences as well. I was merely starting to get into bands like them at the time, but I really enjoyed the outside influences on that record. It’s been around four years since Monster Monster, although the band did release an EP of b-sides and bonus tracks entitled Monster Monster EP, the band has been laying low for quite awhile. Four years seems like an awfully long time to stay away from music, but in that time, The Almost’s sound has changed quite a bit, especially on third record, Fear Inside Our Bones. A pair of singles were released since this past January, and the record would’ve been released in March, except the release date was pushed back because Tooth and Nail Records became an indie label, so the label wanted Fear Inside Our Bones to be a great record. Needless to say, it was worth the wait, because it’s everything I could’ve wanted and more. It takes the alternative rock and southern influences on Monster Monster, and amplifies them. The two singles released from the record, “Ghost” and “I’m Down,” showed off their new sound, so to speak, and those two songs are some of my favorites from the record. In all honesty, though, the band has changed quite a bit, but in the best ways possible.
The record begins with “Ghost,” which was the first single released from the record in January. I had listened to it once when it was released, but I didn’t think much of it until I went back to it a few weeks ago when I bought a copy of the Monster Monster EP. “Ghost” is actually really nice intro track, let alone lead single, because it does represent the album, but to some degree. It doesn’t represent the entire record, but if you’re looking for the gist of The Almost’s newer sound, this is the perfect track to start off with. It has a rather southern rock / alt country vibe to it, and it’s a wonderful opener. There’s a clear sense of direction with this record, unlike Monster Monster, which was all over the place musically. It didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be, but this record does. Four years can do a lot for a band, and in that time, The Almost decided to embrace their alternative rock and alternative country influences. That streak continues with second, and title, track, “Fear Inside Our Bones.” This is one of the more “softer” songs on the record, but it also drives the record’s theme home, with Gillespie singing in the chorus, “We were made with fear inside our bones / The kind that makes you feel alone / To hold on, just breathe and figure out.” One of Gillespie’s strengths is his faith. He released a couple of worship records in the last couple of years, and while I’m not a religious man by no means, it’s amazing to see how passionate and how dedicated he is. The lyrics on this record are a mix between religious and secular, but unlike his worship records, the lyrics in his other bands have always been subtle, meaning that you can take them plenty of different ways. That’s one thing I love about this record is how interpretative it is. It’s not totally off the wall, but you can take plenty of different meanings from his lyrics, and mold them into your own. Going back to the record, however, third track “I’m Down” was the second single released from the record in May, and this song also does what “Ghost” did and shows off a southern rock / alternative country side of the band. Lyrically, this is one of my favorite tracks, because I feel as though Gillespie is writing about the period of time that went between Monster Monster and Fear Inside Our Bones. The song paints a picture of Gillespie proclaiming that he’s down, but he’s not giving up. And that’s where I feel like he’s talking about himself and the band. Despite so much time between records, he didn’t want to give up. This song is a great representation of the lyrics on the record, but not necessarily the whole sound of it. It’s got a nice southern rock guitar riff serving as the backbone with Gillespie’s snide and aggressive vocals, but it’s certainly not what the record as a whole has in store.
Fourth track, “Never Be Like You,” actually continues this lyrical trend of being defiant, but not to the point of rudeness or obnoxiousness. This song has Gillespie talking about how he doesn’t want to be like someone, presumably other bands in the industry. But take it or leave it, this track is a straightforward rocker, as some tracks are. This song, along with seventh, eighth, and ninth tracks, “Fight Song,” “I Won’t Let Go,” and “So What” are straightforward alternative rock tracks, and while they’re fun, and anthemic, they aren’t anything spectacular, either. These tracks don’t disrupt the flow of the record, but they don’t bring anything to it, either. They just kind of exist. Tracks like the title track, and sixth track, “The Florida Sun” bring a sense of vulnerability to the record and to Gillespie’s lyrics. These tracks slow things down a bit, but not to the point where again, it disrupts the flow of the record. Speaking of which, the last two tracks are two of my favorites. “Love Is Coming Down” is another acoustic track that has some rather personal and uplifting lyrics. It’s another “vulnerable” track, but it’s an enjoyable one. The record ends with a cover of Andrew Gold’s “Lonely Boy.” The song seems rather out of place, but it’s a fitting closer. It’s a nice southern rock / alternative country track that ends out the record on a nice note. While it’s been four years since the Almost released a proper LP, the music world has definitely welcomed them back with open arms, especially with their more grown up sound. It just shows that Gillespie isn’t afraid to embrace his southern roots.