CD Review

Sentinel – Demos

By Marcus Pan

I have two demos here from modern pop style band Sentinel. Formed by Dennis Bestafka and Sandra Conde a few years back as a side project, the addition of John Patterson and Amelia Cole round out the four person troupe of Sentinel. Sequels and Hunches is due out this summer and previously they’ve put out The Singles and a self-titled release in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

My first impression of Sentinel was how bright and poppy it was compared to other things sitting on my desk. An island of happiness otherwise surrounded by a sea of dark music. It reminds me of work by Scarlet Life[1], with a trip-hop bent and extremely pretty female vocals, sweet enough to pour on your waffles as syrup.

On one of the CDs are the two tracks Diamond and Masquerade. The former starts with comfortable guitar before being joined by a pretty girl voice. Masquerade is similar, and while I know the chords are different it gets a bit similar in style to the previous without much to differentiate it.

The seond CD has eight tracks, opening with The Muse. This one’s much more moving, with bright shiny guitar movements. Dolores Cafe starts poppy with guitars again, Republica on ADD medication. Sentinel is very comfortable to listen to, really, makes you in the mood to have a really nice day. It’s nice morning opener. The Gray adds a bit of fast-strumming guitar technique to the mix to pick up the pace.

I like the bass groove on Sugar. Keeps things moving at a nice clip. The girls’ vocals stay a bit lower tone here with a nice smoothness about them. The slow ballad of All But Gone is a nice close to the second demo CD.

The main problem with Sentinel is it doesn’t differentiate so much. The tracks blend together and the album will shuffle by quickly without your realizing it. The guitar movements are the same with a few brighter exceptions, the vocals are always the same, the drums are nearly boring. They certainly have the skills to make music…but there’s only a bare handful of songs that they know how to write.

Contact Information:
Sentinel
Post: 293 Euclid Ave. #5, Oakland, CA, 94610, USA
Web: www.gathermanproductions.com
[1] Interviewed in Legends #110.