Music Reviews

Heavenly Beat Talent

(Captured Tracks) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

The rhythms induce something a little more fluid than the toe-tapping and head-bobbing of Beach Fossils. Firstly, it’s very rare, if ever evident, that the same bass notes ever follow each other in the familiar manner of his other notable work. This may seem over-analytical but it’s important to distinguish the soul of this record from that of Beach Fossils. Talent never relies on any presumptions or expectations in order to create itself. This is music to groove to, to escape within and to resurrect happiness. It moulds ideas from dance, flamenco and surf-rock with overtones that graze upon reggae and soul music as well. But diversity is not its only strength. In fact, diversity is never simply a strength of its own presence. It must be structured to purpose with original concepts and blend these into some digestible form. Consider the difficulty of that and combine it with dynamic rhythms and interchangeable instrumentation from almost any sphere of music and you begin to realise the depth of Talent, which succeeds in coercing all of these aspects within glorious, optimistic pop anthems.

With Talent we find John Péna quite far removed from the genre where he has made his name as a collaborator. In general, there are very few guitar-led passages, with much more emphasis upon bass, keyboard and the plethora of percussion instruments from steel drums to xylophone. And as such this is a very welcome sound. If you are coming from the Beach Fossils side of the fence don’t expect to find anything that way inclined, and in fact, this exposes the groove element of them as quite benign compared to what Péna himself can conjure. There is an effortless freedom to the entire sound that lends itself to the creativity. It doesn’t feel forced in any way and actually can seem a little lacklustre at times due to this. Ultimately though, it’s impossible not to be uplifted by the understated joy and graceful melancholy which shelters gloriously precious choruses with shadowy and intriguing pulses.

Each track seems intelligently imagined, with their single word titles that are as relevant as they are vague. The lyrics flow as though an echo from the heart of Péna and appear unadulterated, unabridged and delectably precious. Melodies form beautiful wisps of emotion over the haze of instrumentation that continues its seductive groove. Heavenly Beat sees Péna returning to his work pre-Beach Fossils and to a more positive form of expression than on Heavenly Beat’s earlier efforts. Beach Fossils may be fairly early in their maturation with only one LP released so far, but they find themselves surrounded by a plethora of similarly inspired peers. Heavenly Beat, however, steers towards somewhere different entirely. There’s a familiarity of the irrepressible beat that carries most of the tracks and Faithless exemplifies all of their virtues by remaining simple yet experimental. The depths to which Talent plunges sensually speaking make its lo-fi contemporaries look stiff and deadpan. Listen to this record and you will be submerged into Pena’s musical concepts that are mesmerizing, exciting, sensual and bold.

You can listen to the LP using the Soundcloud player below: