Delay is one of the Midwest’s best-kept secrets. I first caught this Columbus/Cleveland three-piece a few months during the last Ergs! tour and was blown away by the energy they exuded. I picked up their most recent effort, …Don’t Laugh, and was rewarded with the one of the most fun and relatable records I’ve heard in awhile.
Delay’s basic sound is an extension of Kerplunk!-era Green Day, full of youthful passion and surprising optimism. The two singers (who are twins) both sing almost constantly and near every line is a hook. While maintaining that basic East Bay pop-punk sound, they manage to avoid clichés by utilizing some non-generic chord progressions, a few of which sound a little strange at first but upon subsequent listens tend to the give the band a quirky personality.
For a band like this, the lyrics need to be good and Delay delivers in spades. While the songs are consistent in style, the lyrics deal with a wide range of topics. Everything from the difficulty of living away from family members (“71 N”) to dealing with new surroundings (“71 S”) is dealt with, while my personal favorite, “Married,” pleads, “So you wanna get married? I don’t think you should, though some friends you have may make it look good. Slow it down and hang out with us.”
In “…Everything You Hate” they manage to use a legendary punk band to characterize the flaws in a relationship: “You say you don’t like the Ramones, but I think we’re a lot like the Ramones, because we look good together, but we can’t get along.” They have a knack for discussing things in unconventional ways and never shy aware from possibly embarrassing themselves. They’re a little awkward and a little immature, but these possible flaws are what make this record so engaging and relatable.
With such a vocal-heavy album, it should be noted that the vocal style may not sit well with everyone. While the singers are twins they don’t sound the same. One of them utilizes a more straightforward approach while the other one likes to hold out long wavering notes overtop. It’s little bit like a restrained Jello Biafra, and while I initially didn’t love it on record, it grew on me and makes for a nice contrast with the other voice.
Part of me wants to share this record with the world and the other part of me wants to keep it to myself as my secret. The fact that this band flies so far under the radar is reminiscent of Paul Baribeau -- it’s so accessible and relatable that I don’t know why they’re not the current toast of the ‘Org. Simply put, if you’re into punk rock, this should be on your list of things to check out.
Note: This was originally self-released but has been re-released on Plan-it-X and paired with their previous album Jumpstart My Heart on one CD.