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'Pop Psychology' 6-track mini album
Released on Home Recording Is Killing Music, November 23rd, 2011



Back in 2005, Matt Wycliffe Lucas found himself with an expired contract for a job on a cruise ship which had sailed around the world. Rather than returning to his native UK, he decided to try his luck in Japan. He ended up teaching at an Osaka language school housed in a skyscraper surrounded by other skyscrapers. A head for heights. Head for the heights.

On his first day there, he met a charming Canadian gentleman of Filipino descent named Angelito Cruz. "Call me Lito", he declared by way of introduction. To which Matt replied, "So are you teaching Tagalog?" "Only if you're teaching Welsh", he quipped, and thus friendship was forged.

Whilst renting an apartment the size of a shoebox, Matt Wycliffe underwent spontaneous songwriting combustion and re-ignited his love of melody by penning an arsenal of songs on his acoustic guitar. Meanwhile, rumour had it that Lito was a disgustingly talented musician, upon which Matt Wycliffe immediately proposed bass playing duties to him. Matt Wycliffe had once attended jazz school and learnt about the importance of a bassist's swagger. Which Lito had in bucketfuls. Yet to Matt Wycliffe's surprise, Lito politely declined and announced in Queen's English that his skills would be better-suited as a keyboard player. Unconvinced, Matt Wycliffe retired to his shoebox, sulked and strummed to himself. For two whole years.

Somewhere around the end of those two years, though, their language school requested Matt Wycliffe and Lito teach their students something to sing along to. Plumping for 'Dr. Robert' by The Beatles, they thrashed out a rough version on an upright piano and battered-up guitar in fifteen minutes. It sounded fantastic. Something clicked and the duo immediately booked a session at a rehearsal studio the very next day in a red light district of Osaka to tickle the songs that Matt Wycliffe had been working on during the Shoebox Years. That first session was sprinkled in sleazy stardust and they knew from the get-go that they were on to a winner. Rehearsals started to happen on a regular basis and with an expanding body of work, the squeeze for a full-on band was getting itchier and itchier.

Then one morning, Matt Wycliffe went to work and everything changed. Entering one of the classrooms expecting to find a group class, he instead discovered a series of cancellations had shaven the class down to just one student. She was sitting there with a sparkly aura and her name was Maki. The lesson was supposed to be about business trips, but some kind of weird telepathy took over and made them both realise they had way more important business to attend to. Namely, an intense discussion about music. Fireworks exploded and they did cartwheels. Arranging to meet privately in a beat poet's cafe after the lesson, the two engaged in a further ridiculously intense music conversation which proceeded to last no less than 3.5 hours with only sips of cappucino to intervene. From Elvis to Rickenbacker guitars, from The Smiths and back to sleaze, the two were now thoroughly bonded.

There was one slight problem, though. Maki asserted she was 'exclusively' a guitarist. Mortified, Matt begged her to convert to bass and join the band. "But I've never played bass before in my life!", she contested. Absolutely convinced she was a perfect fit, Matt Wycliffe coerced her into tagging along to the next rehearsal with a procured bass. Just as Matt Wycliffe had predicted, it was all as smooth as butter and very soon it was clear that Maki was the coolest bassist in Osaka. Japan's answer to Kim Deal, if you will.

The final piece of the jigsaw was finding a drummer. Lady Luck wove her magic again when the three pre-existing members bumped into Tsubasa outside a supermarket in Osaka Central Station. They struck up conversation about music and it was a good fifteen minutes (of pre-fame) before they even got round to introducing themselves by name. Turned out he was a phenomenal drummer.

A voila. Sentinels was born. The rest, as they say, you know the rest.