Locals: Delay absorbs life's punches and soldier on with Circle Change

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Circle Change, the latest full-length from heart-on-its-sleeve indie-rock trio Delay, was recorded, with noted irony, the week of Valentine’s Day earlier this year.

“Within Delay, we’ve always had these songs that are either focusing on the loss of that type of romantic relationship or on those moments of being in total romantic love and totally out of control,” said singer Ryan Eilbeck, 29, reached by phone in the midst of an early June East Coast tour. “And it’s funny to think of recording some of those darker songs on that specific day.”

There are undoubtedly some darker moments scattered throughout the album, the bandmates confronting everything from heartbreak to death with the same graceful, unflinching honesty. At times the music calls to mind the words spoken by Louis C.K. during an interview on “Conan” last fall. “Life is tremendously sad,” the comedian said at the time. “Stand in the way of it, and let it hit you like a truck.”

On the cathartic “Been Good,” Eilbeck follows this advice to the letter, fully absorbing the blow and then deliberately pulling himself back up off the canvas. “Shake it off,” he sings, as a knotty guitar riff stumbles around him dazed. “You’ve got so much left to live through.”

“When you’re coming up in a supportive family or community, you get the idea everything is going to be perfect and you’re not going to feel pain and sadness. And the album, and that line in particular, is saying, ‘Yeah, you are going to, and it’s going to be constant,’” said the frontman, who formed Delay alongside brother Austin Eilbeck (bass) and longtime friend Jesse Wither (drums), both 29, when the three were in eighth grade. “It’s going to be one thing after another, and you have to get yourself to a place where you can deal with it and still find the joy [in life].”

Music has long served a therapeutic role in Eilbeck’s existence — a point hammered home during a recent phone conversation the singer had with his grandmother.

“She was talking to me about my dad, who’s also a songwriter, and she was saying, ‘With you and your dad, you’re making music … because you have to do it. It’s your balancing force in life, and it’s the way you take in the world and make it more manageable,’” he said. “From a very young age music was always there in my house. It never felt like a choice. It was just a part of me from really early on.”

Nathan Stephens-Griffin photo


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