Aerial - The Sentinel (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Sentinel (2007)

No Method

As derivative as it may get at points, Aerial's The Sentinel is a surprisingly strong effort from some post-rock Swedes.

Aerial take Explosions in the Sky's signature atmospheres, sometimes employing vocals over it that, when it isn't seemingly aping Interpol, actually adds to the beautiful melancholia of the album. And even then, it's quite a complementary layer. Often popping up to chant repetitively over the instruments, it's a bit dizzying, and almost hypnotic, really (i.e. "Walk with Me").

The band's standard modus operandi isn't fully evident with The Sentinel's intro of sorts, "Heads Gone"; it's a 1:37 track that adds background chatter to methodically plucked octaves and a sweet, alluring, lullaby-like singer. But once the patterned, pretty stomp of "My God, It's Full of Stars" kicks in, the RIYL slot becomes an easy mad lib.

The Sentinel does indeed tread rather familiar territory for much of its course, but it's a stomping ground you'll be happy to accompany them on. But what also helps make the album so striking is its deliberate approach of darkening the moods ever so slightly in some songs, only to reveal an optimistic light towards the end of the tunnel (song). "46th St." is a particularly great example; it's a seven-minute piece that transitions between its sections perfectly. The band simply knows how to work the dueling flutter of twin guitars to the its advantage.

All in all, The Sentinel is a captivating, assuredly enjoyable release. There's certainly some proud wearing of the influences, but they couldn't be tailored better.

You Will All Die, All Things Will

Heads Gone
My God, It's Full of Stars