Channeling our problems into our art is a tradition that dates back to the beginning of art itself. It can often be difficult to find an outlet for some of the things we’re going through, and various artistic mediums give us a chance to sort through our experiences. Michigan band Former Critics–led by frontwoman Jessica Vaughn–have delivered a compelling look into their minds and lives in the form of new EP Heavy-Hearted. Besides containing moving lyrics, Heavy-Hearted sounds great as well, and we have the premiere of the EP right here.

The EP begins with a bang in the form of opening track “In The Dark.” Each member of Former Critics immediately shows what they’re made of on this opener. Vaughn’s lyrics and pointed vocals pierce straight to the heart, Doug Kuenner makes his guitar contort and thrive through a number of great riffs, and Mike Pakulski’s drums and Keiffer Heino’s bass round out the sound into a satisfying and gripping whole. “Night Terrors” is a brooding, angry track that provides for an extremely cathartic listen as its tension and sound ramp up. The tempo picks up with “Writers Block,” and features some of Vaughn’s most personal and revealing lyrics, with the beginning of the track rocketing along before becoming heavier as the track reaches it’s zenith. Closer “Legends” is a perfect thematic ending to Heavy-Hearted and while everyone gets a moment to shine on its five minute runtime, Pakulski brings the song together, with his incredible drum work serving as the backbone of the track.

Asked about the themes and process of recording the EP, Vaughn says “We decided to call this new EP ‘Heavy-Hearted’ because it definitely has some darker, heavier themes to it. It’s a four-song EP and we are so proud of every song on it. Heavy Hearted touches on mental illness (much like our debut EP, Sleeper, did) because it’s something we feel should be talked about more. I personally deal with OCD and anxiety, so it’s really therapeutic for me to write through it. The EP also touches on dealing with loved ones with mental illness, specifically depression, in a subtle way. There are a lot of different themes in these songs and we’re super excited to see what everyone gets out of them.

‘Heavy Hearted’ was recorded by Tommy Porter in Wayne State’s [University] recording facility and mixed/mastered by Nick Diener. They were both awesome to work with and made the recording process super smooth.

We’re also extremely stoked to announce we’ve signed to Have Fun Records! Zack [Parr] has been amazing to work with so far and we can’t wait to see what happens next.”

You can listen to Former Critics’ new EP Heavy-Hearted below.