Release Date: Jul 24, 2012
Record label: Captured Tracks
If you come to John Pena's project Heavenly Beat expecting a certain reverb-heavy sound thanks to his membership in Beach Fossils, you might be surprised that he owes more to the Pet Shop Boys than to the Velvet Underground. You might wonder if he moved to Sweden to spend time with the Embassy or Radio Dept. instead of hanging around a dingy Brooklyn practice space.
Heavenly BeatTalent[Captured Tracks; 2012]By Colin Joyce; July 26, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetYes, it’s another dreamy guitar pop album from a dude who used to be in Beach Fossils. You’ve heard this one before, I know. It was only a mere month ago that Brooklyn-based indie rock label Captured Tracks was parading about their most recent in '80s indebted jangle-rock in the form of DIIV’s debut LP Oshin.
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.
Heavenly Beat is a bedroom recording side project for Beach Fossils bassist John Pena, which is kind of how Beach Fossils started in the first place—with its lead singer, Dustin Payseur, recording tracks in his apartment before recruiting a full band. Pena takes the airy, echoed vocal cue from Beach Fossils and adds a more electronic bossa nova feel for Heavenly Beat’s first full-length, Talent. The result is an album that flows well but at times borders on muzak.
Brooklyn's Beach Fossils are a productive crew of musicians. Guitarist Zachary Cole Smith struck gold recently with his debut album as DIIV, but there's also bassist John Pena's Heavenly Beat. Preceding his tenure with Beach Fossils, Heavenly Beat also found a spot on the roster of Captured Tracks, which released two seven-inches and now Talent, the debut album.
Heavenly Beat’s debut long-player is a punchy, more direct take on the sound championed by the likes of Wild Nothing; he’s obviously a lucid dreamer, as he is much more behind the reigns of the dreaminess shrouding his debut album, ‘Talent’. What has drawn people to Heavenly Beat in the first place is mainly the fact that it’s a Beach Fossils side project, from bassist John Pena. Beach Fossils had their own particular sound, but they often sounded like a band with blinkers on; they never ventured away from the tight rhythms of their guitar work, apart from on their second album which disappointingly just played second fiddle to Wild Nothing’s jangle and synth formula.