Taking ears and imagination on a journey across planet earth, starting and ending in the stars, Sentinel is the debut album from British electronic artist RICHARD EVANS. It is a vision and reflection of a world set on a plight of catastrophe, an evocative release telling “the story of humanity at a tipping point and a world trapped in a climate crisis.” It is the darkest dilemma presented in a collection of the brightest virulent songs, a captivating adventure bred in synth wave and electro pop enterprise.
Manchester-based, Evans was previously guitarist and songwriter for St. Vitus Dancers and later keyboardist in James. His creative exploration to this moment in time has also embraced numerous award winning projects musically and additionally as writer/director/producer of science fiction drama Aeon and author of the novel Kosmonaut Zero which was released via Dead Ink.
Recently released via Cold Star Media and recorded in his home studio, the Hervé Girardin mixed by Sentinel is, as mentioned, inspired by the times the world finds itself testing and being tested by; particularly the realms and mysteries of real-world science, biotechnology, machine intelligence and the environment we as humanity are constantly challenging. Each track is also a venture through electronic radiance and virulently fascinating climates yet an exploration aligning and trespassing the darkest shadows and cataclysmic opportunities that lie within.
Made Of Stars opens up the release, a track which “stems from the theory that the building blocks of life on Earth come from space” and embraces the senses with that same perception of celestial intrigue and seduction from its first breath. Mystery equally colours its initial invitation before a collusion of sounds spring a synth pop stroll drenched in inherent catchiness. There is a certain Jean-Michel Jarre/Vangelis-esque hue the track, its simple vocal declaration a cosmopolitan celebration of ‘life’ and just as inviting as the joyous sounds around it.
The potent start is soon escalated by the following Brave New World, a proposition seeing the gathering of shadows in its scenic blossoming and an embracing of eighties tinged synth and electro hinting influences. Whispers of Thomas Dolby tempt across the calm but lively rumination on our micro-plastics invaded globe but as all songs within Sentinal, it swiftly and firmly imposes Evans’ own individual character and invention of sound.
Continuing to reveal the variety of aspects to his music and enterprise, the album offers up 2084 next and a proposal drawing on the chilled espionage of Gary Numan/Tubeway Army and the melodic and atmospheric suggestion of John Foxx. Yet again it is another emerging unique in breath and temptation, an inescapable and sinister seduction gripping the imagination.
Trick Machine rises up around the listener like an alluring and ominous mist, its body almost incorporeal in its electronic shimmer and melodic radiance but bearing a disturbing, at times menacing incursion, as Evans merges light and dark in sound and contemplation. Even so, it is another inescapable slice of rapacious electronic pop which had spirit and body animated much as successor The Last Of Us. Indeed it proved even more manipulative as echoes of eighties band Blancmange flirted with our ears as the hungrily infectious encounter aligned AI inferences to another compelling fusion of light and dark atmospherically and physically.
As haunting as it is atypically poetic in voice and sound, Black Rain proved an irresistible mix of apocalyptic ruin, warm hope, and eager survival; essences fuelling the track’s richly evocative intimation within its electronic realm of matching craft and suggestion while All Fall Down drew us into a romance of electronics amid a saunter through cosmic avenues. The song is a web of textures and a kaleidoscope of sound as again verily shaded observations and reflections cast another magnet for ears and imagination to be easily drawn to.
With Constellation taking ears and thoughts back into cosmic wonder with intrigue and melancholy as it concludes the release, Sentinel has proven one fascinating and keenly infectious pleasure, both aspects becoming more potent by the listen.
Sentinel is out now via Cold Star Media @ https://richardevans.bandcamp.com/album/sentinel
Pete RingMaster 07/04/2022
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