Tag: Sentinel

PERFORMER MAGAZINE – Record Review: Sentinel, For Days Deep

Sentinel | ReverbNation | MySpace

Check out my Performer review for Sentinel’s previous album, Kites Without Strings, here.

For Days Deep
By: Keane Li

Oakland dream pop quartet Sentinel’s For Days Deep marks the band’s fifth release since forming in 2001. Evolving with unexpected line-up changes within the past year, the band was forced to deconstruct, reevaluate, and ultimately rebuild their sound from the bottom up. While their previous release, Kites Without Strings is varied and eclectic in comparison, like a series of different ideas connected, For Days Deep offers a matured conciseness and a crisp quality that adds clarity to their already very warm sound. Says vocalist and bassist Tarabud, “We progressed as a band by being open to much more experimentation and raw moods; spending many afternoons tinkering through ideas over and over again, allowing space for those happy mistakes.”

The album opens with “Kinda Light Up,” quickly exhibiting Sentinel’s pulsating guitar and lush vocal harmonic qualities. The trademark Sentinel echo and reverb are there, creating a wistful soundscape consistent with their dreamlike sound. Within their robust ocean of audio are a few particularly remarkable moments: the strong guitar riff in “Finale,” reminiscent of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name,” provides a very catchy push forward for the song; and on “As the Crow Flies,” a strong chorus melody dramatically dips down into the crux of its lyrics. “I know the breeze of your stormy seas,” sings Tarabud before the song re-enters another driving verse. As a whole, the pop sensibilities in For Days Deep – the quick emergence of verses and danceable rhythms – make the record easily digestible and readily enjoyable for a wide variety of listeners. (Self-released)

(link to review…)

WC PERFORMER – Sentinel – Kites Without Strings


Sentinel – Kites Without Strings
Produced and recorded by Dennis Bestafka and Tarabud

Sentinel’s latest offering, Kites Without Strings, follows their 2007 EP, Sequels and Hunches. The album’s dream-pop sound exists enigmatically with a defiance for normal principles: it’s ambient and gentle, but energetic and without silence. Inspired by the band’s exposure to the cultural and natural beauty found in the Bay Area, this mix successfully describes its four members’ experience in living one thing and its opposite.

The eight-track album opens with “Ohlone,” leading in with a catchy pulse of rhythmic drums and synth that builds into a driving chorus drenched in polyphonic vocals. The track starts off the album well, providing an upbeat indicator for the following songs. Midway through, “Spades” serves as a percussive awakening from the dreamlike wistfulness of the album’s initial half. Drums drive and keys stand out via repeating riffs adding a refreshing zest, while ambient vocals fill where synthetic sounds sat on previous tracks. It feels organic and vibrant, like sunlight breaking dawn.

The album concludes with “Heroine,” a sultry song crawling in Phrygian. The imagery created from Sentinel’s lyrics model the band’s exotic, modal sound, which is especially meaningful as it represents guitarist Dennis Bestafka’s experience as a soldier in Iraq: “There is a tribe on lonely land / Shadows cast the shapes on evening sand.” It’s a profound escapist end to a profound escapist album.

Filled with sumptuous synth, ultra-reverberated vocals and saturated guitars, Kites Without Strings erupts like one long, happy wall of sound. Most of the songs on the album employ a similar upbeat pop vibe, creating a cohesive quality that might make differentiating them difficult. Thankfully, there isn’t a single bad track here, so this little bit of homogeneity proves itself more than welcome. (Self-released)


-Keane Li (more…)