January 26, 2010 - Tooth & Nail
There's a vocal refrain in "Noises," from Number One Gun's newest offering, To The Secrets And Knowledge, that has been haunting us for days--and not in a good way. We're talking drilled-into-the-head haunting; pure, syrupy, Rick Astley-style torture. Luckily, nothing else on the new album by this group, lead by Chico, California, native Jeff Schneeweis, quite reaches this level of punishment, but overall this 10-song effort provides many moments of deep contemplation and reflection. Like, how come "Look To Pass" is an instrumental that never really goes anywhere? Was Schneeweis furiously scribbling lyrics in the jam space, trying desperately to chime in before the band got tired of its sad, boring little riff? Hey, instrumentals are supposed to be even better than the songs with words, right? And when "Try It" finally kicks in with Schneeweis' shaky falsetto, how come the first thing we do is wish for another dullard instrumental?
But most importantly, why all the studio trickery? We know this guy's a full-time producer (recent credits include Hawthorne Heights and Brighten), but some of the effects on To The Secrets And Knowledge are just way over the top. Could this album be targeted towards chain-smoking, balding studio engineers? We hope not. These questions and many more are just part of the painful Number One Gun listening experience.
Some may be pacified by album opener "The Victory," with is quasi-riffs and synths; as a standalone, the track is just as passable and mediocre as anything you'd hear on modern-rock radio. But start to peel back the layers of To The Secrets And Knowledge, and the quick realization is these are secrets and knowledge better left unknown