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Celebrate Mistakes - Click to view!Making music, like anything else, is a learning process. That successful concert pianist you see playing at the symphony may have been taking lessons since she was eight. The tuba player you see during halftime on the field of Irving Stadium could have been the middle school band's rising star a few years back. Heck, even U2 had to start somewhere. However, if the picture of the little girl on the cover of Celebrate Mistakes is any indication of Number One Gun's musical talent, they're taking modern rock back to elementary school.

Number One Gun's overall style is a punk/emo hybrid, much in the same vein as Further Seems Forever. Bands like these fill a rather minute niche in the industry, but it's a niche we'd love to see grow. Sadly, more than a few snags keep Number One Gun from increasing the chance. The disc's opener "Starting Line" is the tip of the iceberg. Adopting a fast-paced punk style, "Starting Line" would best be classified as a Relient K b-side, as lead singer Jeff Schneeweis stretches his vocals to match those of Matt Thiessen. However, instead of following Relient K's varying and complicated chord progressions, Celebrate Mistakes is littered with repetitive, formulated riffs that offer little innovation. "These Things," "Get Up (The Way I Feel)," and "On and On" all suffer from this same musical drought, while misplaced harmonies and overall lack of enthusiasm weigh down the title track. Moreover, as far as lyrics go, there's very little substance to hook listeners. Overt spiritual references are a negatory, but tracks such as "Invest in You," "Hear This," and "The Last Time" all focus on a life that has seen God long absent and seeks to fall back into communion with Him. This normally wouldn't be such a problem, but these songs, among several others, merely repeat the same message using different words. Other cuts, such as "Today is Described," demonstrate a lack of songwriting ability through repetitious lyrics and vague, seemingly meaningless references: "Today is gonna be the day that you will see / today is gonna be / today is the day / you're right, I'm feeling described." "You Fail Sometimes" and "This is All We Know" are two more examples of tracks that fall prey to these exact symptoms.

Relying more on style than substance, Celebrate Mistakes fails to stir any excitement in the emo/punk genre. Rather, it plays as an empty mishmash of songs that was backed by little effort. Still, it's clear that Number One Gun has some untapped potential that could be put to use with improvements in the lyric writing department and musical experimentation. Should these abilities ever be realized, it's possible that the band could produce some quality tunes. Until then, keeping in mind the title of this album, anyone who gives this disc a listen will have ample reasons to celebrate.
- Rick Foux
March 2004
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