Straight out of small town Sorrento, Seth Sentry has spent the past decade rising the ranks of Australian hip hop. After a three year break, he’s served up an album fans will eagerly eat up.
Sentry’s new album Strange New Past demonstrates a solid sonic progression from This Was Tomorrow, Sentry’s 2012 debut, aided by fellow local hit-maker and producer Styalz Fuego. It’s the first time Sentry’s taken on an executive producer, having self-produced the majority of his tracks in the past. It proves to be a fruitful partnership, as Fuego brings with him pop influences to soften Sentry’s sharp lyrics. However, there’s still something a tad hit-and-miss. If anything, the songs on Strange New Past work best together rather than as standalones, but there are two tracks that are definite highlights.
The first release off the album, ‘Run’, which also features the talents of producer Nic Martin, has proven to be a quick favourite amongst fans. A definitive small town anthem, Sentry reminisces on the daily drudgery of Melbourne’s Southern outer-suburbs singing, “There’s a bunch of Frankenstein’s up on the Frankston Line/Dead folks scratching their neck bolts/It’s not their fault ‘cause they were just never given chances/Zombies in button up FILA pants doing the thriller dance.” Supported by vocals from Rudy Sandapa, the production grabs out at you with an ever so simple, but undeniably funky, guitar riff that underlies the track.
A few tracks later, Sentry spits absolute fire in ‘Hell Boy’, the second single off the album. Full of energy, the slow, heavy bass leads into Sentry’s anecdotes about his devilish reputation as a young boy, with a flow that isn’t heard elsewhere on the album. He abandons his usual conversational tone and instead utilizes his voice as an instrument, his words connecting together smoothly as he shoots out one lyric after the after like a revolver. As the two most well balanced and rounded-out tracks on the album, ‘Run’ and ‘Hell Boy’ are fantastic selections for single releases.
As the title suggests, Strange New Past sees Sentry take a deeper look into his upbringing, understanding events in a way that only a hindsight vantage point can provide. This self-analysis, coupled with Sentry’s unabashed honesty and cheeky humour, makes for engaging storytelling. This knack for storytelling creates a common thread throughout the album. Even on album low points such as ‘Violin’ and ‘Pripyat Part 1 & 2’, you’ll find yourself listening until the end as you learn something new about Sentry’s story. It’s darn good, relatable content that’s garnered, and will keep garnering, Sentry a cult following from Sorrento, and beyond.