Heavenly Beat - Eucharist
His third full-length release and his first effort outside the influence of the Captured Tracks record label, Eucharist makes for a milestone in John Peña's discography under the name Heavenly Beat. It is a waypost from which loyal listeners can turn around and take in a complete view of what ground the solo project has covered stylistically. In this case the road traveled is well-paved and linear, a display of the remarkable consistency that has so defined Peña's body of work from the uniformity of his album artwork to the palette of instrumental color he dips his brush into: trills of classical guitar, steel drum chimes and a vaporous hybrid of flamenco and smooth jazz vibes. Though artistic progression may be a virtue, I admire Heavenly Beat's stalwart intention to carry on in the same direction, just doing it better each time. Eucharist offers up twangy RnB atmospherics in the vein of the most recent How To Dress Well album, layers of intertwining guitar riffs atop pulsating percussion. My favorite cuts include "Head", accented by the moans of bendy lead guitar notes, and "Effort", which opens with a synth solo that reminds me of the music that accompanies The Weather Channel. Eucharist is an inviting, calm effort that is uncategorizable, but undeniably cozy.