“Divert the Asteroid” (EP) by Heartour

Heartour has everyone talking last year with the enigmatic R U In LP, and this summer they’re back in the news with another enrapturing piece in the all-new extended play Divert the Asteroid. While Heartour is comprised of a musician in Jason Young who has yet to disappoint his base when it comes to inventing new and compelling tonal extravagances to share on record, there’s nothing about Divert the Asteroid that sounds self-righteous nor insular in the fashion so many other solo projects have in the past half-century. Rock gets a bath in blood, sweat and neon in this disc, and whether you’re a fan of avant-pop at its most aggressive or not, something tells me this EP is going to have a big impact on you just the same. 

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There’s a lot more punkiness to songs like “Twice a Day” and “When the Lights Go Down” than was present on the vast majority of R U In, but it’s important to recognize that the trademark pop influences Heartour has always embraced are still left intact here. “Little Waves” and “What This Means” live and die by the parameters set forth by their harmonies, no matter how fleeting they are in the latter of the two songs, and “Oh Love” could definitely be stylized to be more stripped-down while still sounding as confidently melodic and electric as it does in this scenario. Versatility is the difference between indie success and mainstream superstardom, and it’s found everywhere in Divert the Asteroid

Melodic soundscapes serve as the backdrop to “When the Lights Go Down,” “What This Means” and “Oh Love,” and to some degree I think they actually tell us more about the emotion here than any of their lyrics do. This isn’t to discount the influence Young’s poetry has over how we break down the big picture in Divert the Asteroid, but merely to acknowledge how critical understated elements of texture, tone, and tempo work to create an experience for the audience in this release. That’s not typical of an extended play, nor one as devoid of the campy frills common in progressive outings as this offering from Heartour is, and it’s not something I’d anticipate hearing anywhere (or from anyone) else anytime in the future. 

I’ll admit that I had some impossibly high hopes for Divert the Asteroid simply because of how much I loved R U In last year, but luckily for myself and the many other fans of Heartour around the globe, this lives up to everything I had wanted and then some. Jason Young shines like an exploding star in his performances here, and even though it isn’t a full-blown album, Divert the Asteroid seems to have more muscle than a lot of the LPs I’ve reviewed in 2021. This summer needed a hot soundtrack given the underwhelming climax of the preceding year, and in this latest effort from Heartour, I believe we get everything we need to start the season off the right way. 

Michael Rand

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