Review: Heavenly Beat - "Talent"

Heavenly Beat - Talent
(2012 Captured Tracks)
 I have to admit, I wasn't too impressed with the first two Heavenly Beat singles released last fall. Usually, I don't go for stuff that's dancefloor ready and drum machine-heavy, so I was pretty dismissive of them. Now, I've learned my lessons about doubting any Captured Tracks band. The one-man indie-pop act fronted by Beach Fossils bassist John Pena is back with one of the most unique LPs of the year, Talent. For any fan of dreamy soundscapes and relaxing vibes, Heavenly Beat is sure to satisfy your musical appetite.

Heavenly Beat's influences are a bit hard to pin down, so it's probably best to describe them as a cross between that smooth jazz music that plays in the background at the mall and Jimmy Buffett-style island music. The result is surprisingly pleasant. Pena's gorgeous voice, laced with plenty of reverb and echo, wafts gently over layers of bouncing bass, jazzy guitars and keyboards that engulf the songs in waves of beauty. For example, "Lust" opens with a wall of dreamy sound and evolves into a danceable, surprisingly catchy song featuring some impressive vocal harmonies.

The best tracks are "Elite" and "Hurting". The former is a weightless track, featuring a carribean style keyboard melody and interweaving overdubbed vocals all. The latter is accented by steel drums an earworm of a guitar riff. By the end of the album, though, the tracks get a little samey. Perhaps Pena could have mixed things up a bit more, but repetition is only a minor flaw when the music sounds this good. Overall, this is a great album, and worth a purchase.

Listen to the album in its entirety below.