Number One Gun - To The Secrets And Knowledge

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RIYL

The Send
The Fold
Saosin

Release Date

01/26/2010

Tracklist

1. The Victory
2. Big Machines
3. Forest
4. Noises
5. Hey Stranger
6. The People
7. White Lies
8. Look To Pass
9. Try It
10. Don’t Stop Believing

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2 ratings

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Recent Ratings

You can tell this Number One Gun album is really just the solo work of Jeff Schneeweis. Contrasting noticeably with the exuberant pop-punk grit of classic NOG, To The Secrets And Knowledge is glossy and atmospheric – but ultimately, not better. Whether it’s because it imitates the tired Tooth and Nail formula too closely, or because it just sounds terribly colorless, it’s obvious Schneeweis put the album together just to fulfill a record contract. Either that or he did a convincing job pretending it is one.

Everything that’s sedating about this ten track lullaby, “The Victory” embodies. Beginning the album with some of the most irritating synth notes you’ll ever hear, it eventually drifts into mid-tempo pop/rock and becomes the highlight track. When Schneeweis raises the vocal altitude in the chorus, he makes it sound like a tamer Saosin, which is impressive. Too bad then that the melody quickly runs dry; see if you can stand the song by the fifth listen. It’s a drab copy/paste for the proceeding four songs. Not even the yearning, “Don’t erase my life!” line in “Hey Stranger” can save the first half from its monotony.

The second half shows some vague improvement. “The People” is lyrically intriguing when it reflects on the disappointments and trials of humanity, but its I’m-half-asleep acoustic backing murders any potential for interest from the listener. “White Lies” and the instrumental “Look To Pass” are relatively solid, while “Try It” bears resemblance to older Number One Gun. Oddly enough, the album closes on a cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Schneeweis’ rendition can be called decent, though it doesn’t add anything new to the original, and his screeching to reach the high notes evokes at least a mild cringe. Still, the track choice genuinely reflects the album’s uninspired spirit. Couldn’t “Look To Pass” or “Try It” have closed instead? It seems more logical to “go out with a bang” rather than “go out with humdrum.”

To The Secrets And Knowledge just leaves a soapy aftertaste, which is the most undesirable kind. It’s not thoroughly strong, and it isn’t shockingly awful – it just hovers nonchalantly in lukewarm territory. Hopefully, Schneeweis isn’t satisfied with it either. Older Number One Gun albums are proof that there is such a thing as better days for the seasoned writer, though, and the sooner he finds them the less criticism he’ll have to stomach. In the mean time don’t even bother with To The Secrets And Knowledge.

--Matthew Tsai

Author

thetsaiguy
Last updated: 02/15/2010 10:49AM

Comments

Bill Lohr
02/15/2010
10:56AM
Age: 30
Location
Lehigh Valley, PA

This is not my usual cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoy this album. I disagree with you Matt in the sense that I feel the first half of the album is better than the rest.

Rick Gebhardt
02/15/2010
11:23AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota

Phew, thankfully I disagree with Bill.  Band sucks. Always have, always will.  The end.

Find me EVERYWHERE:




thetsaiguy
02/15/2010
06:03PM
Location
San Jose, CA

@Bill Yeah, I mean the whole album was just subpar to me, but I can see where you're coming from.

@Rick Their older stuff was decent but this just isn't good.

last.fm/user/thetsaiguy

reispa
02/19/2010
09:41AM
Age: 32
Location
Cincinnati
Rick Gebhardt

Phew, thankfully I disagree with Bill. Band sucks. Always have, always will. The end.

Shocker.

Pretty solid review. I enjoyed earlier Number One Gun, but since the whole solo deal has gone down, it has lost some luster.
The North Pole album was pretty awful, and I was deciding whether or not to even bother with this one. A few listens and I'm
not hating it like I did North Pole. After the first 3 tracks, I would have been happy to give it a 3 1/2 stars and end there. Several
listens later I still really enjoy the first 3. Noises is pointless, The People is boring, and don't even get me started on the closing cover.
If you're gonna cover a track, you better bring something new to it....otherwise...what's the point?

By the end, I would say the album ended around a 2 - 2.5 stars. I'm starting to enjoy the use of samples and synth, but just not so much
for this band. I will say that the album as a whole sounded very well produced and mixed. His use of panning (especially in the opening track)
really added to the tracks. It seemed that was really a focus throughout.