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Promises for the Imperfect

  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Jul
Promises for the Imperfect
Sounds like … Denison Marrs, early The Juliana Theory and current Jimmy Eat WorldAt a glance … Number One Gun further refines itself by replacing ambiguity and rough indie edges with more relatable spiritual lyrics and polished production. Track ListingPretendRegrets of PhotographsWe AreFireside WingThere Is HopeWho You AreAll You Have Golden SmileThe Time Is NowLife Is What You Make It

Number One Gun, hailing from Chico, California, debuted with Floodgate Records two years ago with Celebrate Mistakes. The indie rock-meets-emo offering was widely praised, though some criticized it for ambiguous lyrics and moments of unrefined instrumentation. The band has since ironed out its wrinkles on the road with the likes of Relient K, Anberlin and Emery, so it's no wonder why Tooth and Nail Records came calling to pick up the sophomore effort, Promises for the Imperfect.

Here, Number One Gun enlists the production help of Aaron Sprinkle (Pedro the Lion, Jeremy Camp, Acceptance) for a more polished sound, starting with the shiny alt rock opener "Pretend," which begins with distorted guitars and turns into a series of glistening melodies and rowdy instrumentation. "Regrets of Photographs" is textbook emo at its finest, abounding with hooks and recalling the early days of The Juliana Theory. Nods to Jimmy Eat World, Denison Marrs, and Matchbox Romance are apparent throughout the up-tempo explosiveness of "The Time Is Now" and the accelerating rhythms of "We Are."

Lyrically, it's less ambiguous and more accessible. "Who You Are" seems to be a friend's plea to a non-believer to abandon a sinful lifestyle: "In time you'll die/You're facing up, you gotta save yourself." "There Is Hope" suggests that no matter how bad life gets, Christ is the ultimate source of optimism. "Life Is What You Make It" rounds out the record with pure pop, further alluding to how faith can change one's perspective for the better. These inspiring suggestions, combined with contagious chord structures, make Number One Gun's second stab even better than the first.

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