In the latest release from Jason Young’s Heartour project, an EP titled Divert the Asteroid, it’s made clear from the start of the tracklist that pushing artistic limits further than ever was one of the primary goals here. After more than eighteen years in the spotlight, it can be easy for even the most talented of players to start feeling a little burned out, but if there’s one thing we can collectively take away from this EP, it’s that the solution to this problem is to experiment in the way Young does here. A mixture of old school concepts and new school ambition, Divert the Asteroid is hard to put down once picked up for the very first time.
“Little Waves” and “Twice a Day” just might be the most contrasting numbers Heartour has added to the same tracklist thus far in his career, but they’re also two of the more aesthetically revealing recordings on this EP. Instead of giving us the obvious in these two moderately-paced alternative pop-rockers, Young is filtering everything through a Placebo-style haze indicative of loftier ideas at hand; as one who has heard this act beforehand would guess, even the familiar in Divert the Asteroid has a certain otherworldliness to it.
There are no clearly dominant instruments in “What This Means,” “When the Lights Go Down” or “Oh Love,” but not because of a murky master mix at all. Truthfully, the joint force of the melodies and textural percussion are creating such an intriguing centerpiece that trying to break down which element is the most endearing or exciting would be pointless. You need every ingredient in this recipe to make the decadent and delicious sound Heartour calls its own, and although not a work of minimalism, this EP is completely devoid of the filler I normally have to skip over in an album.
You don’t have to be a professional critic to pick up on the cultivated noise influences in “Oh Love” and “Little Waves,” but at the same time, there’s nothing so abrasive in Divert the Asteroid as to appeal to left-field pop fiends exclusively. Jason Young doesn’t write for one audience over another, and I think that much is flawlessly illustrated in the duality of his songcraft in this release. His flexibility is both enticing to the listener and frustrating for the fellow musician, mostly because of how obvious his unique abilities are even at a distance.
The buzz surrounding the release of Divert the Asteroid has been difficult for anyone on the indie side of the dial to ignore this year, but I can personally say that I wasn’t expecting anything quite as powerful nor memorable as what I ended up hearing in this five-song sampler. Heartour isn’t a hard act to get into if you love good songwriting and great execution, but I think Young might have made his flagship project all the easier to fall in love with through the release of Divert the Asteroid. It has the potential to be a game-changer, and I don’t believe I’m the only one who thinks so.