Growing up in a small town in Connecticut, Jason Young spent his formative years in the shadow of the glitz and chaos of New York City, a place of riotous noises and the hum of city life. This roar of wild sounds and seemingly endless opportunities eventually drew him to the city, bringing him into close proximity with others who saw the crowded streets and bustling throngs of people as an oasis of creative enlightenment. And for Young, inspiration came in the form of a few sketches in a notebook, album covers for records whose music hadn’t been written yet. But the images grew in his mind until the music simply fell from his body, whole and remarkably arranged.
He would release his debut record, Three, under the Heartour moniker in 2003, followed by Five and Ate in 2006 and 2009, respectively. During this time, he also settled into the role of drummer for The Ruse, an indie-pop band that reveled in grand theatrics and arena-ready songs. After a year together, they relocated to Los Angeles. Simultaneously occupied by his work for Heartour and The Ruse, Young would go on to release a combined total of 11 albums from 2005-2015.
His music as Heartour and the sounds he helped to create with The Ruse were quite different, with Heartour offering glittering synth-washed sounds comparable to M83 and Chromatics while The Ruse were fond of dense pop narratives – which helped them to secure supporting spots for Muse in 2013 and 2015. However, it has been nine years since he last shared anything associated with Heartour, that being Submarine Sounds back in 2011. And with The Ruse taking a hiatus shortly after those Muse gigs, Young has had ample time to refocus on the kaleidoscopic music of his first musical outfit, discovering shimmering new worlds of pop complications within the borders of his new record R U IN.
Blending video game synths, buzzing electronic tones, and fluid melodies within countless variegated soundscapes, Young crafts a meticulous and expansive world in which his creativity is free to roam and create a sizeable synthetic ruckus. From the sensory subsuming opener “Brain” to the spaced-out pop flourishes of album closer “Baby Spiders”, the record develops a wondrous ambition, finding clever new ways to dole out the kind of throbbing rhythms and electronic cooldowns you’d find populating the best dancefloor in New York City.
“Dreams to Come” is a thudding electro-pop marvel that elicits a deep emotional resonance through circuital bombast. “The Persuadable One” is another midnight banger, brimming with shivering synths and cavernous percussion while “Refill the Fountain” offers 8-bit atmospherics and sugary melodies. Young effortlessly develops a means of threading between dense eletro-clash rhythms and intensely personal narratives. And while the sound gets fairly cacophonous at times, he never allows the music to drown out the emotional center of his work. R U IN is a rollercoaster of synths, hammering percussion, and Young’s emotive voice that completely envelops you for a few minutes at a time before letting you collect your thoughts, out of breath but anxious for another ride.