Album Review: No. 2 – First Love
First things first: this band isn’t thenewno2, Dhani Harrison’s project named after the succession of characters who portrayed the mysterious leader in The Prisoner. No, this No. 2 has been around a bit longer than Harrison’s group, so one might think of it as the “old” No. 2. But hey, they’re new to me, and quite possibly to you as well.
This No. 2 is from Portland, and features singer/guitarist Neil Guest, formerly one of Elliott Smith’s band mates in Heatmiser. The music here is a bit more uptempo than that, but the approach of welding pop values to compact, punky songs shines through. No. 2 are kindred spirits with Bob Mould’s Sugar and even Green Day, though the songs on First Love are less bratty and more thoughtful than your run-of-the-mill Green Day tune.
A wholly no-frills production approach give the album a “live in the studio” vibe. The muscular, throaty bass of Gilly Ann Hanner and the drumming of Paul Pulvirenti propels the music forward. “The peppy “You Might Be Right” and the spare, phase-shifter extravaganza “Model of the Universe” are highlights, but the whole album is solid, solid stuff.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.