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Number One Gun
The North Pole Project
Tooth And Nail Records
www.toothandnail.com


I had started to write a review on the album The North Pole Project, it was going great and naturally going in one direction, but then the more and more research I did, my mind was taken in a completely different direction. The history of this album title and its band Number One Gun is confusing to say the least. Here's a brief timeline: 2002 - Number One Gun band was created and released debut EP Forever; 2003- second album released: Celebrate Mistakes; 2005- third album released: Promises For The Imperfect; 2006- band breaks up and lead singer Jeff Schneeweis creates his own band called The North Pole Project; 2007- NPP goes back to being called Number One Gun; and finally 2008- Jeff releases an ALBUM called The North Pole Project which is his first as a solo project. Are you with me? Like I said, confusing. So, let's get on to the music.

For a guy trying to make it on his own, this is a very impressive album. The music is strong and uniquely defined. It's defined as though each song was a different emotion that Jeff was going through. Starting off the album is "The Massacre" which becomes a truly powerful song, once it's allowed to really come in. The intensity in this song is easily compared to label mates Anberlin or Underoath. Between the wailing guitars, full-on drums and Jeff's fierce voice it's hard not to get a little angry yourself while listening to this song, even if you don't know why. Down a little is "The Best Of You And Me" which is very slow, meticulous and entrancing. There's not really any instruments used besides some electronic ones and the lyrics speak of a love that was possibly lost. Next we'll listen to "Bad Habits." This is the only song on the album where I thought maybe at some points there is a little too much emotion. Some of the verses translate to more of a screaming than singing and with how beautiful the melodies are that screaming tends to ruin bits and pieces of the song. However, then the song will turn around and impress me again. If I look at it like a harder album, like that of a Story Of The Year or a Project 86 sound, then the sound is perfect. Therefore, the screaming and thrashing of instruments makes for a quite amazing song.

Ending the album are two more melodic songs: "The Different Ones" and "This Holiday." The first is a very simplistic song with just Jeff and his guitar; you really get a chance to see the talent that he has and why he's going to be able to make it on his own. It maybe another song diving into the realms of love, but if you really listen it's more a song of friendship. "It's a game you play/When you're always second best/I've made the same mistakes" are more lyrics that speak of relating and the attempt to tell someone they're not alone. Now the latter of the songs "This Holiday" is a love song pure and simple. Jeff and his guitar are accompanied by a few other simple instruments, still nothing over-the-top, but a couple more guitars and maybe a drum or two. With these lyrics: "It's a lonely holiday and I'm only thinking of you" this song is given the grand award of Album Ballad, 'cause everybody's gotta have one.

So there was a bit of confusion at the beginning as to whether I'm reviewing an album, or an old band, or a new band with the same name as the old band or new album. And then there in the middle with is this pop-punk or emo or rock? After I finally got my head straight and was really able to listen to the album, I enjoyed what I heard. If it were me, I may have gone a different route with all the names, but definitely not a different one with the music.

-Rachel Fredrickson


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