Creating a sequel to something as compelling as R U In couldn’t have been an easy job for Jason Young, the man behind Heartour, but he still makes it sound relatively simple in the new EP Divert the Asteroid, one of the summer’s most provocative alternative listens so far. While there was much discussion about the distorted pop elements in the songwriting we were exposed to with R U In, Divert the Asteroid is a bit different in style, bringing progressive weaponry into what increasingly feels like a post-punk battle, with little resistance in the instrumentation.
Nothing in the tracklist sounds improvised, yet none of this could have been born of recycled concepts – it’s just too original a document for this to be the case. Throwing the rule book out the window isn’t a new idea at all, but I don’t get the feeling Young is expecting us to praise his rebellious attitude in this extended play by itself – it’s what he does with it in “When the Lights Go Down,” “Little Waves,” “What This Means,” “Twice a Day” and “Oh Love” that makes his eminence as an underground heavyweight quite literally impossible to debate.
The synthesizer is my man’s best friend when looking at Divert the Asteroid from a compositional point of view, but it’s not used so much that the core of the music here starts to sound inauthentic or robotic in any way. Instead, there’s a DIY sensibility that has been granted to the production quality which reminds us – rather constantly – how indebted to the heroes of post-punk, goth, proto-alternative rock, and new wave Heartour undeniably is. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that this EP is steeped completely in retro indie aesthetics, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a critic incapable of recognizing the vintage nods included in songs like “Little Waves” and “What This Means.”
The beats behind “Twice a Day” and “When The Lights Go Down” are aggressive because they have to be, to the ends of giving us as defined a look at the organic musicality in the adjacent melodies as is possible in this situation. The lyrics are never shrouded in mystique, nor do they devolve into silly metaphors we’ve heard one thousand times before (and just as many ways). Simply put, if there’s such a thing as being both barebones and pleasurably sustaining, Young has found a way to create it.
Indie aficionados will likely agree with me when I say that Heartour has surpassed the expectations set for its output time and time again since the release of the project’s debut album back in 2003, and in this sense, Divert the Asteroid is everything we would want it to be. It will be interesting to see how it’s received by the longtime followers of Jason Young’s music more than anyone else, as something tells me it’s going to do well with newcomers to this sound regardless of overall critical reception. This is young, fresh alternative rock for a generation that needs it, and I think it’s going to affect the mainstream in one way or another.
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