A perfect compliment to end-of-summer melancholy.
Throughout his solo debut as Heavenly Beat, Beach Fossil's bassist John Peña dissects romantic woes and personal failures with a nearly mathematical precision, yet his lyrical narratives play out against the backdrop of silk-soft, beach-bound and beat-driven songs, as if the singer is battling his own brain while aching to simply be part of the lush sonic scenery. Balearic house and (especially) Swedish indie pop are the clearest successors to the sound Peña has arrived at on Talent, but they aren't the sole sources that Heavenly Beat draws on. Considering the title track's warm bassline, it's probably no accident that Talent's clean, minimal artwork strongly recalls the packaging of Substance, and that the uniformly one-word song titles ("Faithless," "Tradition,") could easily be mistaken for the names of lost New Order tracks. Elsewhere, the white sands vibe of "Presence" isn't terribly far removed from the loungey, resort-ready electro pop of Moon Safari's more tropical moments. Yet there's also a certain sensibility that ties Peña to his Captured Tracks labelmates (and Beach Fossils bandmates), a tendency to favor a subtle, overarching mood above standout, single-worthy songs. Because the tracks drift so easily in and out of each other, it's likely that Talent's detractors will complain that album is too faceless and unassuming to make an impact, but what's most surprising about the record is how naked and vulnerable Peña's wispily intoned words are, especially in contrast with other recent Captured Tracks releases, making Talent a perfect complement to end-of-summer melancholy.