I’ll smoke cigarettes with you
I don’t do that for everyone

Delay’s last album came out in early 2012, but somehow it seems longer than that. To me they’ve never really marked time in the way that, say, a Bouncing Souls discography–one that I’ve been monitoring since I was 9 years old–does. Delay doesn’t make me feel gaps in time, necessarily, they just make me feel so fucking happy. They have been a remarkable constant. This album, though, is so good and impacting that it makes me feel those two years real hard. It was about five jobs ago that I last heard new Delay music; I still lived within driving distance of my cousins and nieces and parents; I was probably a lot more sure of myself. And Delay probably was, too. They sound a lot tighter and more experienced here than they do on 2005’s “Can We Be Invincible?” and “Not Stupid but Hopeful,” but still less sure. Circle Change, with its restless guitars, assuredly vulnerable vocals, and conditional-statement lyrics, seems to me to say that experience makes you capable of identifying every little contradiction and flaw in yourself, but doesn’t help you straighten anything out or feel better about what’s going to happen next. When the story circle comes back around, the only thing that’s going to make that journey heroic or pathetic is whether you’ve changed. Delay always makes me feel like minor heroisms are worth celebrating, even if it’s just because that’s what you need to get by on for the next rotation.

And it’s a record that makes Delay’s decade-plus career stand as one of THE BEST in recent pop-punk. They’re like power-pop played somewhere deep in the woods instead of out in a sunny field. They’re shady and prickly and catchy. Fans of Armchair Martian, The Draft, Discount, good Green Day, good Weezer, Sloan, and, as mentioned, The Bouncing Souls will find a lot to love. But so will everybody else because Delay is great at what they do. The singing is understated and incredible. Just listen to the songs below. All but 2 songs are over 3 minutes, which is a change for Delay. It’s not like they’re wandering or slowing down too much, it’s just that when you see a collection of songs between 3-4 minutes, you know the emphasis is on crafting perfect pop songs. They did it and they left a ton of heart in it. This is a staple of summer listening and in a few years it’ll likely still be the marker of this summer–the one I spent jogging around lakes, watching muskrats ferry sticks back and forth between dens, and hoping to move back to home soon.

Have My Back
Blood Let Summer

Grab Circle Change from Delay’s bandcamp for a fiver. The rest of their discography is there for you to name your price. Find the LP at one great label, Salinas Records. Follow Delay on tumblr.

Author: Mike Ostrov

Mike Ostrov relays the history of popular song on message boards and under rocks.