|Heavenly Beat — Prominence (2013)|
Heavenly Beat — Prominence
▼ "Working from home has a lot of advantages. The most important, for me anyways, is that I don’t have to deal with anyone else’s thoughts or ideas besides my own. Also, songs always come really quickly and if I don’t have a way to capture them I’ll forget how they went so having my set up ready at all times is def helpful." ▼ John Peña
Location: Austin, Texas/Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Album release: October 15th, 2013
Record Label: Captured Tracks
Catalogue Number: CT188CD
01 Lengths 3:58
02 Complete 3:32
03 Familiar 3:47
04 Expectation 4:13
05 Thin 3:55
06 Honest 3:25
07 Forever 4:07
08 Stable 3:52
09 Prominence 3:36
▼ John Peña
▼ Christian B.
▼ Raz K.
▼ Caleb H.
▼ Chris M.
▼ Christian Barsi Hi Hat, Keyboards, Percussion
▼ Daniel Schlett Mellotron, Piano, Piano Engineer, Vocal Engineer
▼ Heavenly Beat Arranger, Composer, Engineer, Primary Artist
▼ Erick Labson Mastering
▼ Ryan McCardle Artwork, Layout
Album Moods: Bright Calm/Peaceful Dreamy Light Lush Restrained Atmospheric Gentle Innocent Melancholy Positive Reflective Shimmering Sprightly Summery Tender Tuneful Warm Earnest
Themes: Day Driving Summer Yearning Youth
▼ “PROMINENCE” is the 2nd full length in as many years from Texas transplant John Pena. It was recorded/mixed in the same apartment(after a failed attempt to mix in a “real” studio) as last years TALENT over the first few months of 2013 after shelving a full length’s worth of songs for not being sonically or emotionally interesting enough. ▼ Using Primitive Radio God’s “Standing Outside A Broken Telephone Booth With Money In My Hand” as a sonic touch point John built a new album from the ground up utilizing chopped/sampled drum breaks and, for the first time, some non laptop based keyed instruments(piano, mellotron) along with H.B. main stays classical guitar and steel drums. Live member Christian Barsi and Daniel Schlett of Strange Weather Studio both contributed keys to a few songs but the outcome is still a very solo sounding project. Arrangements is where PROMINENCE shines. Managing to sound inventive and not quite like anything else with such a limited palette is a rare and commendable feat. ▼ From the slide guitar and pulsing nylon string samples of “Honest” to the flamingo call and deep kick combo of the 2nd half of “Complete” Heavenly Beat keeps the whole affair sounding fresh, interesting and natural. Lyrically, PROMINENCE is not an escapist affair. It’s a very direct look into someone dealing with poor body image (Thin), infidelity (Honest) and emotional/physical/sexual recklessness (Prominence). It’s not asking or answering any questions. Just existing within itself, fully a where of it’s shortcomings.
Published: October 8, 2013 by Russell Dean Stone
Review by Tim Sendra; Score: ***½
▼ Heavenly Beat's second album in as many years, 2013's Prominence is a well-crafted sequel that builds on the strengths of the self-titled debut and is another graceful, dream pop delight. The process of recording it may have been difficult — John Pena tried working in a real studio but discarded the results and ended up making this at home by himself — but the result is a seamlessly smooth delivery of gentle melancholy that drifts along peacefully and lulls the listener into a quiet and content mood. As on the debut, the sound is simple and sophisticated with influences that range from the tender pop of Prefab Sprout to the bubbling beats of house music. Pena blends synth string washes with nimbly picked guitar lines, adds little bits of percussion here and there, and generally builds a very strong foundation for his breathy vocals and hushed melodies. The only real difference here is that the sound is a touch more direct than on the debut, with more forward motion to the rhythms and more straightforward arrangements. The brief appearance of slide guitars and the keyboards that sound like steel drums are nice touches, too; they show how Pena is making small adjustments to the sound to keep it fresh. Really though, the main takeaway from one listen to the album is that if the first record worked for you, then Prominence will too. The songs are just as good, Pena's craft has only grown stronger, and the overall consistency of sound and mood works to cast the same kind of waking dream feel that's very easy to disappear into for half an hour. Pena is wise to keep the album short so that it ends before any restlessness sets in; instead, it works just like a peaceful power nap or a relaxing mini-vacation. You come out of it feeling refreshed and comforted, and that's a pretty rare quality in a world where most albums try to dazzle you with their brilliance and over-the-top emotion. Pena is playing for smaller stakes here and he does it with style, making Heavenly Beat a go-to band to turn to when you need a break from the pressures of the world.
Artist Biography by Chrysta Cherrie
▼ Heavenly Beat is the side project of Beach Fossils bassist John Pena. ▼ He began writing and performing under the moniker in late 2009, crafting dreamy electro-pop around his gentle vocals. The first Heavenly Beat release, the Suday single for Captured Tracks, arrived in 2011, followed by the Faithless single soon after. Pena began work on a Heavenly Beat album in 2012, resulting in Talent, released that July. He left Beach Fossils soon after to focus on Heavenly Beat full-time and began work on a second album. After scrapping the results of sessions that took place in a real studio, Pena retreated to his house to record.
▼ Prominence, which featured Pena playing all the instruments aside from a few keyboard parts done by Daniel Schlett and Christian Barsi, was released by Captured Tracks in October of 2013.
firstname.lastname@example.org — See more at: http://capturedtracks.com/artists/hbeat/#sthash.fgWrWCzm.dpuf
BY KEVIN LIEDEL ON OCTOBER 20, 2013 | Score: ***½
By Andy Baber | 14 October 2013 | Score: **½
|Heavenly Beat — Prominence (2013)|