A Near Thing -2

Oh. Christmas. Soon. Ho hum.

Diederick Van Eck strums a cowboy guitar for “Almost Christmas,” but his sauntering through the kids’ happy cries really brings down the joy. (He even says, ‘Hey, don’t shout.’) Quite matter of fact, but not in a hip way.

Strumming out some Devo-folk Black Cherry monotones “Christmas is Almost Here” so you’ll have to dig the meaning out of this druidic chant yourself.

Living room becomes coffee house for Cassidy Brennan, whose folk musings play low key in her “Almost Christmas.” Pretty vocals. Woeful tone.

Almost amateurishly recorded, Johnny Bennett layers in some blues lament with the folk to dampen the dark “Christmas Time is Almost Here.” Dread it.

The Automatics get more pop lively with “It’s Almost Christmas Day.” But the punk overtones and interweaving imagery make me lose the traditional wonder and stare at my navel. Good, if inappropriate.