Surreal and softly tucked into the eye of a mild hurricane of synth melodies, Jason Young’s lead vocal in “Baby Spiders,” one of the ten songs found on Heartour’s new record R U IN, is entrancing from the start. Though not always the most expressive element in R U IN, this voice is consistently the most endearing component of the music here, even when the synthetic instrumentation is riding high on harmonic ecstasy in “Refill the Fountain” and “Dreams to Come.” Heartour is pulling out the stops to give us a performance worth its weight in gold in this album, and I’m not the only critic saying so this month.
“Bubbling,” “Baby Spiders” and “The Persuadable One” feature some of the most cathartic vibes I’ve heard on a Jason Young-led record, but they don’t overpower the other tracks here at all. These songs stand in strong compositional contrast to the pessimistic energy that’s been coming off of the Billboard charts in the last couple of years, and while they’re not the only source of melodic release in the album, they’re certainly some of my favorite selections from this tracklist just the same.
Lyrically, I think R U IN is the most honest and unfiltered LP Heartour has ever produced. Its third single “Brain” aches with an introspective vocal only matched by the ebbtide of percussion found in the song’s backend. “As Far As We Go” contextualizes its verses with a humble instrumental harmony that amplifies the emotion in the narrative exponentially. “Dear Future” puts poetry above pop polish, and inevitably sounds more genuine than any of its mainstream contemporaries by leaps and bounds. No matter where we listen here, there’s an undying desire to be heard on the part of Jason Young, and this along makes the album a must-listen in my book.
The first time I sat down with R U IN, I couldn’t help but feel like “Brain,” “Dreams to Come” and “The Persuadable One” were all developed with the intention of making some club remixes down the line. There’s so much positive energy fused with sexualized rhythm in these three songs, and with just a little bit of tweaking, they could light up a dancefloor like nobody’s business this coming summer season. Heartour is a many-splendored act, and if that wasn’t a focal point of any article discussing his music before, my gut tells me it will be in the future.
There are tons of great tunes out this May, but for what I look for in a synth rock record, this is a top choice and then some. You don’t have to be a hardcore Heartour fan to fall in love with the ten songs included here, but for those of us who have been following Jason Young’s journey in the past two decades, this is a required acquisition without debate. I’ll be spinning these tracks long into the year (and, all things considered, into 2021 as well), and something tells me I won’t be the only one.
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