So far my focus at OnTheListen has been exclusively jazz. But, with this post, I'm excited to begin writing about other genres. More on that later...
Sentry is an up and coming high-energy, three-piece band, for those who are still sentimental about rock music of the past but want to hear the genre pushed to the future. They recently released a new single, "Bridge in Colors," which you can listen to here.
The band channels a 90s grunge sound tinged with the 60s psychedelic, ranging from heavy, fuzzed out guitar riffs with crashing cymbals, to ambient grooves that you can just get lost in. (While "Bridge in Colors" is a dark hue with flashes of light, some of their other material features dancy funk beats, too.) The group is thoroughly integrated — a complete collaboration, from lyrics to individual parts.
If you peer underneath the surface, you find a precise, tight rock machine, arranged with an ear for subtle differences in texture. "Bridge in Colors" balances chaos with structure. Listen, for example, to Jeremy Marx’s guitar palette — from the gritty coating of distortion in the background to the lush chords in the opening to the bright glowing guitar lines that soar through distortion-soaked soundscapes — or the seamless integration between the bass (Watkinson) and guitar, or the alternating vocal lines (Marx and Sami Stevens). Or, follow the changing contours of a new breakdown, or the addition (or subtraction) of a new layer, and listen to how it changes the vibe. All in all, it's precise, stimulating, dynamic, and vivid, yet the overall song does not feel overwrought.
The breakdown section at the end highlights the strength of the ensemble. Marx and Watkinson keep the ending riffs constant, in slow motion, while Moses Eder, on drums, fires a powerful, rapid set of snare hits and cymbal crashes. The suspense between beats, punctuated by drum fills in between, is thrilling. Slow, powerful grooves, beats and songs are a frontier for new exploration. (I am reminded of a similar phenomenon in hip-hop, with synthetic rehashings of chopped and screwed sounds — boomy trap beats and altered bass voices — going mainstream.)
Sentry will be relocating from Boston to New Orleans to focus on continuously evolving their compelling sound. And they're already off to a great start. "Bridge in Colors" shows that the rock ambiance of the 90s is alive, with room for new exploration. I look forward to seeing what these guys come up with next. (And you should, too.)