The Almost – No Gift To Bring EP


Band: The Almost
Album: No Gift To Bring EP
Genre: Pop Rock/Acoustic/Christmas
Label: Tooth and Nail

1. Awful Direction
2. Little Drummer Boy
3. Amazing Because It Is [Full Band Vers.]
4. Your Love is Extravagant
5. Dirty and Left Out [remix]

Aaron Gillespie is a busy, busy man. When not banging on the drums and singing for post hardcore/metalcore Underoath, he’s pursuing his much toned down side project The Almost. After selling 25,000 copies of The Almost’s debut album last year [with very little radio play], he went back to work on his full time career with Underoath. However, in the brief moments of downtime UO has had this year, Aaron and friends have found the time to record a Christmas themed EP that has just been released on Tooth and Nail.

No Gift To Bring is a very laid back look at the holiday season that just plays majestically. The only quote/unquote “Christmas song” is a sped up rendition of, “Little Drummer Boy,” which is actually the biggest down point on the whole EP. The track is solid, but I think that’s mainly because we all know the song. The band’s rendition is done at a weird speed and just comes off unfinished, at least for the first half [it does pick up a bit].

The two new tracks, “Awful Direction,” and the Casting Crowns cover, “Your Love Is Extravagant,” are laced with folk simplicity and full hearts to match. Gillespie’s voice quivers with a near Conor Oberst tinge at times at just jumps from the album. The music is lovely and of course the cover [which was already a hit in the Christian scene] shines with beauty, but I think the key lies in the vocals as the just mesmerized me.

For me, the real highlight on the record is the full band version of, “Amazing Because It Is.” Being my favorite track from the debut, it was pretty much a given it would be the same here and I was right. The once solemn acoustic song has blossomed into a true gospel tune with pop elements that makes it instantly accessible to nearly anyone [as long as you don’t mind the religious message].

Add to this a remix of, “Dirty and Left Out,” that strips the song down to bare bones and you have an EP every stocking should be stuffed with this holiday season. Sure, “Little Drummer Boy,” is a holiday tune, but the other four tracks will hold weight anytime of the year. The Almost may only be a side project, but if Gillespie keeps this up, he may find himself at a crossroads between two paths to stardom. Buy this EP, in fact, buy 2 copies and give one away. I mean, it is that time of year.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
Grade: 8/10

James Shotwell
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