Number One Gun: “To the Secrets and Knowledge” (Review)

25 January 2010

Christopher J Wiles

writer | speaker | servant

Tomorrow sees the release of the second full-length album by Number One Gun, entitled “To the Secrets and Knowledge.” This effort is a solo project by Jeff Scheeweis.

I liked it.  I had doubts at first, but something between the beats and the guitar chords I found myself really resonating with the style and lyrical flow of this diverse album.

Musically the album is a curious blend of electronic and power pop; think One Republic meets Armor for Sleep. Schneeweis demonstrates a dynamic vocal range.

The songs all have that catchy, play-me-on-the-radio kind of feel sure to please old fans and attract new ones. The blend of electronics and guitars gives the album an eclectic feel without ever feeling forced or uneven.

Conceptually the album deal heavily with the transition from teenage angst to early adulthood, and the lyrics are positive and affirming without seeming flowery.

The album’s main “single” is the song “Forest,” whose lyrics were written about the potential future of his two-year old daughter. The chorus repeats:

“I’ve said a lot of things, I’ve done it all but not this…I’ve gotta figure out why the world is so big”

Other songs such as “Hey Stranger” wrestle with questions of significance (singing, “don’t erase my life”), while “White Lies” is a slow, subdued pop song you could slow dance to. The album features a melody-driven instrumental (“Look to Pass”).

The final track is titled “Don’t Stop Believing,” and when I first saw it all I could think was, is that a Journey cover? It is. Which would almost make him lose points if we all weren’t willing to admit that deep down, there’s a Journey fan in all of us waiting to get out.

However the exact meaning of many of Schneeweis’ songs are not entirely clear to me. His lyrical vagueness fits well with the Kandinsky-inspired album cover, and will surely prompt listeners to arrive at their own interpretations as to the exact meaning.

Which may well have been intentional. On his Facebook page, Schneeweis said:

“I did this record for me…I wanted to push myself musically and on the production side of things. Because I feel like I accomplished what I set out to do with this album, I’m open to seeing what the listeners will walk away with. I hope it inspires something within themselves.”

I support anyone who makes creativity their primary aim. And while I’m not a fan of the electronic-pop subgenre, I can’t deny that this release has significant merit.

Casual prediction: this will be the sort of album that bridges the gap from indie rock to mainstream radio. It would not surprise me in the slightest to turn on the radio and hear “Forest” coming through the airwaves.

The album is officially released Tuesday, January 26 by Tooth and Nail Records.

25 January 2010

Christopher J Wiles

writer | speaker | servant

Chris is a writer and speaker. He currently serves as teaching pastor at Tri-State Fellowship and as a research writer for Docent Research Group.

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