In most of the pop music that makes its way to my desk for review, lyrics carry most of the weight in terms of an artist trying to express something larger than life to their audience, and in some ways, this is true of Heartour’s “Little Waves” – while in others it’s just downright crazy to even suggest. The lyrics aren’t lacking in depth in this latest single from the critically acclaimed solo project, but to say that they’re the only element we’re able to draw any sort of creative context from just wouldn’t be true in any capacity. With the wise pen of Jason Young crafting the bones of this piece, there’s scarcely a moment in which we aren’t pushed to the edge of our seats with his searing statements (all of which, I should add, feel sourced purely from his heart). 


Beyond the lyricism in “Little Waves,” the premise of the narrative in this single is extended through the tone of Young’s delivery, which is absolutely on the more modest side of anything you might have anticipated here. He isn’t itching to belt anything out behind the microphone; his self-control affords us such a brooding performance that, to be frank, I don’t see why he’d ever want to give us anything more than the approachable tonal muscle he’s so brilliantly flexing in this release. I’d liked what I heard of his singing before, but it’s on a different level of awesomeness in this star single from Divert the Asteroid, which in itself is an extended play full of surprises. 

The synths in this song and its neighbors on the EP are absolutely gorgeous and never so dominant that they take away anything from what the vocal or the percussion are contributing to the grander scheme of things, which isn’t something I can often say about singles as steeped in synthetic melodicism as this one is. I think it’s true that Young is trying to experiment with elements many of his alternative rock forerunners just didn’t have the ability – nor the burning desire – to that he does, but if there were any critics who thought he was looking to turn the Heartour brand into a throwback device for aging indie rockers exclusively, they should be put in their place with the release of “Little Waves” this month. 


There’s a ton of hype surrounding the summer release of Divert the Asteroid, and I can understand why after listening to “Little Waves” and the EP’s additional single in “When the Lights Go Down” this week. Heartour already rocked the underground on both ends of the planet last year via R U In, but as some critics pointed out at the time of its release, much of that album was a mere sampling of what we could expect from Young’s mind in the future. These tracks are the result of a labored effort to experiment, and personally, I think they’re strong enough to score him a lot of praise from everyone in the business in 2021. 

Garth Thomas