Review: Number One Gun – This Is All We Know (2014)
After “Forest” took over the radio waves back in 2010 with the release of To the Secrets and Knowledge, Number One Gun sort of disappeared from the music scene altogether. Frontman Jeff Schneeweis went on to pursue a side project called The Make with Trevor Sellers, and Sarah Ann from See You Soon on Suspended Sunrise Records, the label formed by NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers. After they released their first single as The Make called “Get It”, I thought it would be the end of Number One Gun as we know it. A couple years later, in the summer of 2012 Schneeweis announced on his Twitter that he would be developing a new song under the Number One Gun name and and a Kickstarter to fund the new album quickly followed. After raising over $25,000 through crowd funding, the band release their fifth studio album called This Is All We Know for public release in January.
The album kicks off with the track “Get A Little Weird” which is an upbeat, high energy track with dueling guitars and a driving drum beat throughout. This track really brings out the emphasis the band has put into the guitar work this album, which is apparent throughout the next ten tracks. “Make This Last Forever” takes a step back and slows down the album a bit. This track also focuses on dueling vocals. Jeff and who I believe is Stephen Christian’s (Anberlin) first appearance on the album trade off lines during the pre-chorus of the song before building into the chorus. “It” turns the album in a different direction, with a more prominent focus on the acoustic guitar work which carries into “Heartbeats” which slows down the pace of the album into a love ballad kind of song. “Make A Movie” picks back up the pace again with an almost U2 style rhythmic guitar riff and an upbeat drum beat focusing on the hi-hats. Jeff’s vocals really shine on this track as he belts it out in the hook of the song. This transitions into the middle of the album, which is fittingly titled “Life In The Middle”. This is a great pop-rock track featuring an acoustic guitar and an interesting piano piece backing it up. It also makes a reference to life being like a movie, which seems to carry on the idea of the previous song. “Disappear” brings the album back to the start, with a full-on rock sound that brings driving guitars, powerful drumming, and soaring vocals together perfectly. Schneeweis’ also incorporates some subtle electronic work to add to the instrumentals. This also features Stephen Christian from Anberlin, whose vocals compliment Jeff’s perfectly.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON0RzhY5n6s&h=297&w=450]
This upbeat rock style transitions into the next song with “Perfect Ones.” “For You” is probably the catchiest song on the album, which is their most pop-accessible song and feels like it had been written for The Make, which is fitting since Sarah Ann contributes some backing vocals on the chorus. Just a warning, this song WILL get stuck in your head and you will not be able to stop your sub-conscious from playing it over and over, proceed with caution. The next track “Dark” uses heavy synths and electronic elements combined with a down-tempo beat which takes a much… well.. darker direction for the album. The final track on the album “I’m On Fire” features more heavy synths, an ethereal sounding backing, and heavy acoustic guitar work. This track really highlights how dynamic of a vocalist Jeff Schneeweis is, as he sings the phrase “I’m On Fire” in a soft falsetto that slowly builds into a roaring energetic chorus that is the perfect way to end an album like this.
We’ve been waiting four years for another Number One Gun release and this album more than lives up to the hype and the wait. The instrumentals are dynamic and really highlight the musicianship of the band and the production and mixing of the album are phenomenal as Jeff Schneeweis now owns and runs his own studio. Overall this is a great album and is definitely worth checking out as it proves this band hasn’t lost much in the few years they took off to pursue other side projects.