Album Review: Son of a Gun’s “Timeline”

ALBANY – Coming out of the Capital Region is another captivating record, this time by the band, Son of a Gun. A concise record that features eight wonderfully arranged rock tunes that dabble in subgenres such as heartland and roots-rock, Timeline is a short but sweet album that will leave listeners waiting to hear more. With the compelling, overdriven tones to the oft-pounding and punchy rhythm section, there’s a lot to sink one’s teeth into.

Really crisp, punchy drums, combined with a subtle but tight bass line, allow the guitar to complement the instrumentation of the opening track, “Walk My Way.” With a memorable vocal melody – never sounding forced – the song is fleshed out quite nicely, with nice starts and stops along the way. Ending the song with an extended guitar solo is a great way to start any album opener!

On the title track, “Timeline,” a song dripping with driving music vibes, the tremolo-affected guitar that’s sprinkled in and out of the mix is a nice arrangement touch. Simple and straightforward, it’s a great highway song that speaks for itself. I enjoyed how these guitars are panned in the mix; there’s a wonderful Mike Campbell-esque guitar solo during the latter part of this tune that takes the tune to new heights.

Overdriven, rich guitars start “Back and Forth,” track three, before the drums enter, along with the bass. Vocals, as with the rest of the album thus far, sit nice and out front in the mix. Featuring a couple of guitar solos, the song gives much more of its sonic palette to these soaring sections. The band has a great way of filling space with interesting arrangement choices. Whether it’s this song’s use of guitars or using ride cymbal here and there to emphasize an instrumental point, so to speak, as heard in “One By One,” the album is chock-full of examples. This song, in particular, has a lot of different drum sounds featured, and it really demonstrates how the parts, no matter the instrument, are deeply considered and written out prior to recording. When the band enters its half-time, almost sludge-like feel, near the end of this song—a stylistic choice that caught this listener off-guard—it definitely catches the ear.

A bit more riff-oriented than the other tunes thus far, “Dead Man Walking” begins with guitar. Another component of the track I enjoy is the subtle support provided by the keyboard part. The guitar and drum instrumental break, in which the toms are heavily utilized, is a nice instrumental change-up. The following song, “See Yourself,” opens up the record to further keyboard parts; the track is nicely punctuated by the piano melody. Aside from that, the song continues the album’s overall instrumental theme, featuring some great guitar work.

The last two numbers on the album, “I Don’t Know” and “Just The Way It Goes,” feature repetitious motifs in their arrangements. For the former tune, there’s some captivating harmony guitar work during the instrumental breaks. Being the shortest song on the record, this listener isn’t ready for the tune to be over. Featuring a swampy opening to the closing track, the energy level is brought down to that of a more contemplative nature. Following the final chorus, the tune goes into a rollicking guitar breakdown, speeding the tempo way up, as the bass explores its own interesting textures. After a bit, the song returns to its original motif, before slowing way down, crawling to its conclusion.

What you see is what you get with Son of a Gun’s Timeline. Although perhaps a bit formulaic in terms of arrangements (by the end of track four, you can predict when the guitar solo will happen), sometimes that’s just the cure for what ails you. Those looking to hear some great songs that sound even better blasting down the highway, should definitely give this record a spin! Check it out for yourself on all the streaming services!

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