PROMINENCE is the 2nd full length from Texas transplant John Pena. After a failed attempt to record and mix in a "real" studio, the album was recorded and mixed in the same apartment as 2012's TALENT during the first few months of 2013. This happen after Pena had already shelved 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, Pena built a new album from the ground up utilizing chopped and sampled drum breaks and, for the first time, some non-laptop based keyed instruments (piano, mellotron) along with the Heavenly Beat mainstays: classical guitar and steel drums. Live member Christian Barsi and Daniel Schlett of Strange Weather Studio both contributed keys to a few songs as well, but the outcome is still a very solo sounding project.
The album's arrangements are 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 and sexual recklessness ("Prominence"). It's not a record that is asking or answering any questions; Prominence just exists within itself.