It would be very easy to pass an album like this by. On first listen, ex-Beach Fossils member John Peña's second record as Heavenly Beat - released not even 15 months after his debut, Talent, has the tendency to sound slight, as if its creator is showing off half-finished sketches of songs that require some much-needed fleshing out. Certainly, those who aren't familiar with Peña's modus operandi may not think that there's enough on offer on Prominence to entice them back for further listening, but this set of nine new tracks is all about the detail. It's been put together with an almost obsessive sort of attention paid to the little things, and it's mixed well enough that no element of its songs is lost amid overly busy arrangements. Everything has its place, and while time could certainly be devoted to picking the new material apart, it's better to simply marvel at how it comes together.

Prominence is short enough not to overstay its welcome, and contains the sort of music which could be described as low-key tropical pop, but it works extremely well. It's the sort of album which one can escape to as the nights lengthen, and could be seen as summery in an almost jarring manner if it weren't so damn charming. Peña scrapped an entire album of songs and returned to his apartment after an attempt to work in a 'proper' studio, and the new songs prove that he is a formidable composer of whimsical pop hooks, but he's just as good as sneaking in unexpectedly dark lyrics.

Themes of infidelity and damaging recklessness crop up, as does an unflinching look at the idea of body image, a topic that turns up on album highlight 'Thin', a song that displays how much further Peña has taken his sound since the laptop-based approach of Talent, stretching a minimal sound palette for all it's worth, and creating something surprisingly expansive in the process. There's a nicely laid-back feel to these tracks; flashes of classical guitar and straightforward rhythms drive the likes of 'Lengths', while the mid-tempo feel of the title track ensures that the record finishes on a high.

There are times when Prominence sounds a little too restrained for its own good; there's a light and airy feel to it right across the board, and while this can help to elevate tracks like 'Complete', there are tracks which suffer somewhat from being held back. 'Honest' contains hard-hitting lyrics but lacks the musical oomph to match; it's one of the songs on which Peña would be expected to let himself go completely, and while it's pleasant enough as is, containing the sort of flourishes that set it apart from the rest of the record, this promising momentum is offset by an unwillingness to step outside its comfort zone. There's an inventive thread running through the whole album ('Forever' and 'Familiar' in particular), and while Prominence can be frustrating at times, keeping itself grounded when it should be able to soar, it's an intriguing listen throughout, showing that there's plenty of life left in Heavenly Beat. Considering Peña threw away an entire album before writing this one, album number three shouldn't be too long in coming.