Number One Gun experienced moderate success with their Floodgate Records debut Celebrate Mistakes two years ago. Their blend of emo with catchy rock riffs gave them a dedicated, if not particularly large, audience. But Tooth & Nail knows a good thing when they see it, and they added the relatively young band to their roster. The fruit of that merge comes in the form of Number One Gun's sophomore release Promises for the Imperfect.
The band's second release is a much more polished outing than their previous effort. That works for and against it. On the plus side, it provides for a more matured sound. While on the flip side, Jeff Schneeweis' vocals, which thrived on unpredictability, are somewhat toned down this time around. One of the things unique about Number One Gun is Schneeweis' ability to draw you into the emotion of the music with his voice, which is more of a raised voice than a scream. That still exists prominently on Promises for the Imperfect, most notably on "Fireside Wing," but in smaller, more controlled doses.
Number One Gun still possesses their emo sensibility, but this is more of a rock release than anything else. That fact lends itself in part to the musical direction of the band, but mostly to Schneeweis' voice. Still, the production, as a whole, is unique in its own right.
Lyrically, the band is less cryptic from a spiritual standpoint than on their debut. With lyrics like "All you should do is die to yourself" on "We Are" and "You're not what I've heard about, but you're so what I need" from "Firewide Wing," the band leaves no doubt who the "You" is, while on Celebrate Mistakes, the songs were a bit more cautious in their nature.
Some will say Number One Gun has lost their raw indie flare on Promises for the Imperfect, and others will say that it is a mature step up for the guys. Both happen to be exactly right. Personally, I miss the Celebrate Mistakes days, but embrace this new direction the band has taken. Give Schneeweis a little more vocal freedom, and Number One Gun will thrive. As is, Number One Gun has a bright future and another brilliant effort in their back pocket.- Review date: 07/17/05, written by Josh Taylor
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