Music that moves us comes alive in its own manner, breaking through the barrier between speakers the sound space around us to affect anyone within earshot. There are no boundaries a pulsating percussive entity like that which we find in the song “What This Means” will acknowledge; for when an act like Heartour is in charge of the material, crossing into sonic realms unknown is considered a mandatory action.
The Jason Young-driven project is scoring a number of headline spots in the press this summer on the back of the new EP Divert the Asteroid, and while tracks like the communicative “What This Means” and “Oh Love” could have stood on their own without the other three compositions here, together they make one of the most powerfully cerebral extended plays I’ve had the pleasure of sampling in a long time. Where R U In, Heartour’s last album, touched on pop themes more often than not, Divert the Asteroid throws itself into every corner of aesthetical ground its predecessor only hinted at but failed to fully explore, giving us a set of B-sides that have the muscle, moxie, and most of all, the blistering originality to carry a release themselves.
“Little Waves” was initially my favorite song here, and taking even a cursory look at its anti-rigid fluidity should give you a pretty good clue as to why. The hook is underscored by a swelling synth element that gets just gritty enough to imply industrial tones I’d love to hear a little more of in a future release, and though its lyrics are a bit surreal, they still feel very heartfelt and forward-thinking in comparison to the ultra-literal style so many of Young’s contemporaries have been halfheartedly marketing as their own in 2021.
Even though “Twice a Day” shamelessly flirts with The Stone Roses and Throbbing Gristle simultaneously, its melodic wit saves the track’s best moments from sounding like a pure homage to the ‘80s alternative beat that gave way to the path acts like Heartour are taking today. If there’s a sexy way to be retro while steering clear of throwback territory, I think it should be said that Jason Young has figured it out in this stud of a new song.
Divert the Asteroid opens with a monolithic piece in “When the Lights Go Down” that gave me shivers down my back the first time I sat down with this EP ahead of its June 25th release date, and despite its indulgent cosmetics it actually sounds and feels like one of the more efficient tunes in the tracklist thanks to the swift pace of its lyricism and climax. Heartour has been drawing a lot of strong feelings out of critics for the better part of the last year, and if you haven’t heard R U In yet, you needn’t feel unprepared for what Jason Young has created in this much-improved follow-up. He’s sharpened tools that were already as deadly as it gets, and from here I can only envision him getting stronger with each release he stamps this moniker on.
by Bethany Page