Number One Fan - Compromises (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Number One Fan

Compromises (2004)

Universal / Pat's Record Co.

What Number One Fan lack in originality and failure to avoid repetition like drugs, they make up for in a "fair-enough" execution of a gradually aging style with their offering of semi-whiny yet extremely soothing pop-rock and consistently fluid - albeit adolescent - emotions. You could even throw the dreaded "E" word at them if you feel it necessary. Virtually coming out of nowhere (Appleton, Wisconsin, specifically-speaking) and signing to Universal imprint Pat's Record Company, Number One Fan could very well blow up all thanks to their blatant take on Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World (read: nearly every soft song on that album), with the boyish vocals and subtle organ borrowed from the All-American Rejects' camp. Their wall-of-guitar sound striving for atmospheric placement is actually more or less based on a thin wall of plaster without insulation. It's soft and seemingly skeletal, but the differentiating guitar strokes and a nice utilization of piano and organ is at least pleasant. The major thing that helps NOF is the fact that they stray from overtly poppy tendencies, whereas their co-habiting peers seem to rely entirely too much on radio-friendly hooks to get their point across. Just about every lyric here deals with relationships falling out at ground zero. It's broken down and way too simple, and as an effect come off severely sophomoric. Every song sounds like 3 A.M. phone call pleads to some soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend. It's a safe bet that every teenage girl who falls into everyone's rough stereotype of them will flock to the band for it. Take "Sorry" for one of many fine examples: "don't say what you mean / I'm not ready for that / all the things sounded so appropriate / all the time," or "Nothing Will Change:" "don't go away yet / it seems like everyone I love is gone / I'm praying for some kind of change / nothing's changed / and nothing will change." The latter of these two songs is actually the standout track, as its building method through the song is noteworthy with a rising urgency that's obviously placed in each passing line, although its abrupt ending nearly kills all feeling. While this album isn't totally solid, or original, or [additional complaint I may have], it's still the surprise of the year for me after expecting absolute crap for their debut. It leaves me admitting that although their current state might only be "half-decent," they may actually have the potential to fill the room for improvement they've left on Compromises. MP3s
Come On
Nothing Will Change