Pre-Release Review: "Good Grief" EP by China Gate

"Good Grief" is one of the most aptly titled EPs I've heard in years. 

Right from the first track, which is the title track, the music is sunny and upbeat, but the lyrics and the string arrangements introduce a bit of melancholy that, by the end of the track, turns dissonant before circling back around to the joyful sound that kicks off the EP. That, it seems to me, is China Gate’s statement about how you should react to grief—to make the most beautiful art you can. And that's what China Gate has done with this EP.

These are breakup songs that you won't mind blasting while driving on the highway—they're just as fun as they are wistful.

With piano, orchestral arrangements, vocal harmonies, hook-laden guitar riffs, and drums propelling everything constantly forward, this four-song EP is an easily digestible introduction to this Memphis-based indie group, which is following up on the heels of their 2015 debut Hunca Munca.

If there's a standout track on "Good Grief", it's probably "Covered in Flames," which immediately announces itself with memorable backing vocals and carries you through with a solid melody, some interesting synth work, and a solid vocal performance from singer Tiger Adams.

For fans of Bright Eyes especially, this EP is worth taking with you on your next car trip, or out for a jog—it’s music that makes you want to constantly be moving forward.

"Good Grief" is available on May 19, 2017. Check out China Gate's Bandcamp site for more information.