With the reunion of Underoath now fully fledged, Aaron Gillespie has returned to more lush territory with the release of ‘Fear Caller’, the fourth full-length effort from his side-project, The Almost.
Since the band’s formation, the line-up of members has evolved a handful of times. They’re now visually known as simply Gillespie himself, but five members currently scaffold The Almost, consisting of musicians loyal since as early as 2008.
The leathery deliver of single ‘Chokehold’ welcomes the release; a warm, stomping track that’s riddled with Gillespie‘s crackled vocals and the flair of Joe Musten‘s drum work. The overall tone of the oncoming album breezes through this song, highlighting notes of a sultry landscape that spans so much further than the eye can see.
It’s evident that Gillespie‘s stylistic aptitude is limitless, as demonstrated on ‘Ain’t No King’ and ‘Why Do You Bother Me’, two polar opposite tracks that utilise the two extremes of all amp dials imaginable. The former is smouldering and vicious, baring flitting embers of resonating reds and burnt oranges, while the latter twinkles in a lilac vulnerability.
The tasteful guitars of ‘Dusty Redmon’, guitarists Jay Vilardi and Jon Thompson aptly complement each track on this full-length, swooning up and down the fretboard in conjunction with the waves of Gillespie‘s dusty voice. The ambience of ‘Fire’ is self-explanatory – the guitars are prickly and pursed.
Gillespie worked on this record around the time of Underoath‘s revival in 2018, simultaneously meshing the chunkier works of that main outlet with the more syrupy endeavours of The Almost‘s lighter sound. His contribution to the dogged releases of Underoath isn’t tonally relatable to the oaky adventures of The Almost, as the likes of ‘Tame A Lion’ churn and snarl in a fiery glint rather than a bellowing shatter.
Gillespie likened ‘Fear Caller’ to the nature of the desert, saying, “I have a romantic affinity for the desert. There are so many untold stories and hidden truths.” This affection has swelled into a blushed catalogue of sandy tracks that sways among the cacti, existing freely in the pluming heat and located warmly beside his more gravelled avenues.