Both of the Sentinals' albums combined onto one CD, with the addition of a bonus track, "Vesuvius," from the 1963 KFWB's Battle of the Surfing Bands! compilation. The Sentinals' debut LP, Big Surf, was a diverse if uneven platter. It was best at its most Latin-influenced, as with the rolling riffs and cha-cha rhythms of "Latin'ia," their best-known track, and the Latin-Bo Diddley mix of "Latin Soul." "Exotic" is an acceptable Dick Dale pastiche, but on some other instros they get into a more standard R&B groove. In the vocal department, there's the fastest version of "Shout" (with vocals) you'll ever hear, drummer John Barbata pushing the tempo like a cuckoo clock coming unwound; one of the relatively few covers of the Beach Boys' first single ("Surfin'") available; and the maudlin "Surfin' Tragedy," a lyric the musicians obviously weren't taking terribly seriously, judging from the tongue-in-cheek execution. 1964's Surfer Girl was not as raw or Latin-influenced, and therefore not as worthy, as Big Surf. You still get some fair cuts like "The Pipe," with its sketchy Dick Dale-does-"Pipeline" vibe; the eerie "Twilighter," with its "Telstar"-ish wordless backup vocals and a melody that resembles "Georgy Girl"; and the strange instrumental cover of the Beach Boys' "Surfer Girl." Much of the time, however, they sound like a young R&B-rock bar band circa 1963, with the intensity heard on much of their debut album muted. "Vesuvius," the bonus cut, is a worthy, frantic surf-meets-the-twist raver with some of Barbata's best early drumming.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger