Forgive me for saying this, but the entire style of The Almost's new EP was not at all what I expected from Aaron Gillespie. As the drummer for Underoath-and even by his side project's debut release-it's easy to assume that this would be a relatively heavy holiday contribution. However, the end result is anything but that.
From start to finish, No Gift To Bring is very sparse instrumentally. At times it's uncertain whether it's a good thing or not; one part of me would have liked to have listened to Gillespie go all-out aggressive, but another feels that it being acoustic helps it to fit in a bit more as a Christmas release. However, it might almost be too sparse, as there is nothing to really set each track apart musically (except for the electronic remix of "Dirty and Left Out"). Then again, it must be said that the lyrics are heartfelt, honest and quite reverent.
So how does The Almost's latest fair as a Christmas contribution? Well, while maintaining and keeping with the "Christmas spirit," it does well… but musically it's excessively bare. It feels as if the proverbial festive tree was presented with wonderful foliage, yet neglected in the area of ribbons, baubles and lights. As it is, anyone who was impressed by Southern Weather might want to give this one a miss, unless perhaps to acquire acoustic versions of some of the aforementioned album's songs. On the other hand, someone who isn't familiar with The Almost may easily find something to like about this release, with its honest, introspective lyrics and acoustic tone.- Review date: 11/23/08, written by Adam Dawson of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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