“Thunder from down under” — the cliche refers to any noteworthy invention of Australian origin. It may be a cliche, but it holds true when concerning Melbourne rapper Seth Sentry. His debut album, “This Was Tomorrow,” is an impressive 11-song work, the successor to his “Float Away” EP. With a sound that is comparable to Aesop Rock, Sage Francis, El-P and Brother Ali, Sentry raps like an automated lawn sprinkler: rhythmically consistent, punctuated, well-enunciated and capable of refreshing listeners on a hot day.
The real thunder on the album is his lyricism. His raps are witty, humorous, adventurous and quite blunt. The dude has an opinion and voices it without reservation. And for good measure, he throws in excellent hooks to keep his message clear and extremely catch. Lyrically he focuses on living in shabby modesty (“Room For Rent”), working jobs that no one enjoys (“Thanks For Your Hospitality”), struggling with substances (“Campfire”) and a general self-awareness which he sometimes tosses to the wayside for the sake of emboldened irreverence (“Float Away” and “Vacation”).
The one issue that compromises the album’s overall integrity is actually something of a backhanded compliment: The production value is too good. The album is simply over-produced (“Ten Paces”), which slightly detracts from the already polished rapping. But on the whole, the album is cohesive, tight and has a great sound. Given that Seth released his debut on his own record label, more will certainly come and it will likely be stellar.