Heavenly Beat, aka Beach Fossils bassist John Pena, isn’t exactly breaking new ground on his debut for Captured Tracks. Bedroom pop created within the test tubes of the 80’s gene pool is happening behind many a closed door. It doesn’t help that he’s sharing a label with Wild Nothing – a man packing more than his fair share of melodic heartache via retro vibes and old school British indie: Jack Tatum, you’re making them all look bad.
That’s not to say I’m not digging the record – Lust is a nice enough opener, with synth pads and guitars sharing the same riff before the whispered vocal and acoustic delicacies pretty the place up.
As Talent progresses you do start to get a sense of Pena’s pop sensibilities, and these are clearly of a more delicate construction. Check Hurting with its fresh and playful tones. It shares more in common with the next Swedish pop import than with the 80’s generation. The icy and unburdened guitar strings atop the soft-kicking drum machines are a fresh breeze, if a little lightweight.
But it’s the lightweight factor that floods too much of the record – these songs are wistful to a point of feeling a like a teenage diary scribbling from a far removed reality. At its worse, Talent starts to feel far too dainty, losing touch with any real direction. Influence for instance opens like a hushed remix of The Girl from Ipanema.
There is a real lack of strong hooks here – it leaves the record suspended in a state of the pleasant rather than pushing for the vital.