Number One Gun – Promises for the Imperfect
Release Date: July 19, 2005
Record Label: Tooth and Nail Records
With a relatively unknown debut album under their belt, Number One Gun inked a contract with Tooth & Nail records and set forth to create their T&N debut. The result is a blast of pop rock with thick, full production from Aaron Sprinkle. There is no shame on this record, Number One Gun shoots for a sound and they achieve exactly what they set out to do. Mid-tempo and hook-oriented tracks fill all 10 tracks of the album. There are no songs that are exceptionally slow, nor are there any that push the tempo. You’re not going to find anything to knock you flat here, but listeners will be presented with a solid album that is a satisfying summer musical fix. “We Are” and “Pretend” are great, driving pop-rock songs that are full of so many hooks you’ll want to listen to them on repeat until you’re completely burned out of them.
Vocally, Number One Gun is quite good. While similar to other bands of the same genre, the vocals are higher pitched without being nasally. The production aids the way the vocals sound as well, with layered and backing vocals at all the right times, without going over the top. Still, every chorus does seem to sound the same after a while. This is saved by moments of brilliance, such as in “There is Hope,” where Emery lends some backing vocals during the goosebump-inducing lines “…This life is all we are, so prepare your lonely heart…” This mixed with synth effects sent chills through my body when I first heard it. That’s one thing that Number One Gun manages to achieve on this record - moments of bliss, parts that hit home hard and get stuck in your head. Unfortunately, the perfectly constructed songs with Sprinkle’s huge production seem to lack heart at times. When songs could take a turn for a more emotional and aggressive bridge or verse, they launch into a chorus instead. While an enjoyable listen nonetheless, I found myself desiring a lot more from this album at times. The musicianship on the record is nothing impressive, but it’s not a hindrance in the least. There are more than a few nifty bass lines, and synth effects are added for effect without making songs driven by them (see “All You Have”).
This record is going to turn a lot of heads simply because it’s one of the catchiest albums to come out this summer. Listeners may find themselves desiring more at times, willing the band to push the tempo, or get a little more aggressive. Fortunately, that doesn’t stop this record from being incredibly entertaining with some decent lasting value. Number One Gun is an album that deserves to be in your CD player as you take your car for a spin downtown with the windows down. This great summer album is worth more than just a listen. Embrace the pop-rock and let yourself smile.