The cover art for Forever Giving Handshakes, the eagerly-anticipated debut album from Melbourne garage-punks Delivery, depicts the band’s members at the front of a rickety rollercoaster, about to tumble into a steep drop. 

Rarely has an album’s artwork captured so well how it feels to listen to its songs. Delivery play with a thrilling immediacy, always on the front foot, forever in attack mode, exuding an intense urgency. You know the end of the record has to come eventually – like the calming stop of a rollercoaster drop – but you hope that it doesn’t. 

Forever Giving Handshakes is an exercise in controlled chaos, songs threatening to fall apart at any moment, but it all coolly remains together. This speaks to the DIY structure and clear chemistry of the five-piece: led by James Lynch and Rebecca Allan, the rest of the band – Lisa Rashleigh, Sam Harding, and Daniel Devlin – all contribute vocals throughout the record, creating wonderful communal singalong moments.

Underneath the rapid-fire vocal delivery, intricate guitar interplay is rife; it’s always a case of more is more. Recorded over a matter of days in their Brunswick rehearsal space, the album also has a live feeling to it. 

Delivery didn’t even exist as a band two years ago, but their growth since has been impressive. Their members have come together from several well-liked and well-followed Melbourne bands – including The Vacant Smiles, Gutter Girls and Blonde Revolver – but it’s this project that feels most able to make it internationally. 

Two fine 7” records – released on the ever-reliable Spoilsport Records – marked them as one to watch in 2021; supporting slots have been increasing in stature, including for Tropical Fuck Storm and Party Dozen; they’re already on the Golden Plains lineup next year; their curious combination of punk energy and garage whimsy seems ideally suited to Northern Hemisphere audiences (it’s already getting a U.S. release).

To celebrate the release of Forever Giving Handshakes, we got the band to deliver us a track by track breakdown of their debut album, which you can read below. 

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Delivery’s Forever Giving Handshakes is out now via Spoilsport Records/Anti Fade Records (AU/NZ) and Feel It Records (US).

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‘Picture This’

James: Right as the band was starting, I decided we should write a song based around a really simple idea that would almost become anxiety-inducing with the constant repetition. It started with essentially one note repeating on the guitar, and when I initially pitched it to the group, Bec looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

Anyway, one thing led to another and fortunately a full song came out of it, with enough twists and turns to break up the monotony while keeping that original concept in full focus.

‘Picture This’ is a bit of a “setting the scene” kind of song – at the time, hinting at what the band could sound like, and now setting up what’s to come from the rest of the album. The phrase “picture this” seemed like an equally foreboding and intriguing way of doing just that.

‘Poor-to-Middling Moneymaking’

James: The first Delivery song! Written by me and Bec during the first lockdown in 2020 thanks to a gentle push from Blow Blood Records first ALTA comp, back when the band was just a twinkle in our eye.

It’s a funny song lyrically because when I was writing it I couldn’t quite decide which perspective I fully agreed with (which is sometimes a good topic to write a song about).

It’s about creativity vs conventional work – I like the idea that creative things should be able to exist around the structure of normal life, and I don’t really like the idea of a high and mighty artisté who simply can’t conform to regular work.

That said, it’s also about commodifying creativity to sell a product. Yikes. Perhaps on the cusp of being an over-intellectualised garage-rock song, hence the 7/4 beat.

‘Baader Meinhof’

Bec: This was the first single off the album, and I love the energy of this one. The song takes lyrical cues from the Baader Meinhof phenomenon, a “frequency illusion” when you notice something for the first time and then have the tendency to notice it more and more often.

It kinda leans into the annoyance of letting your brain play tricks on you and not buying into overthinking about that stuff.

‘Office Party’

James: Lisa thought this song was about Richard Kingsmill, but that dork could only be so lucky. I haven’t spent heaps of time working in offices in my life, but I have spent a lot of time writing music reviews. Another song where I’ve got a conflicted perspective on my own lyrics.

But in short, long live music websites. It’s a bummer that so many have to operate for free and that so many disappear because that just isn’t sustainable, but the monetised places feel a bit scary too. I guess if someone spends a couple of hours writing about your album and you’ve got some coin, a little tip goes a long way. Danny’s drums on this song were so good we had to double them at the end.

‘No Homes’

James: The more we play this song the more I start feeling like it sounds political but it’s not really. I like it when people say ‘there’s less houses now’ (which I’m sure is true), and I like how the terms house and home are often interchangeable (also accurate), so I wrote a song about what might happen when the concept of home runs out.

Real estate agents working overtime, luxury hotels packing out, landlords licking their lips… is this heaven? Maybe it is a little political.

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‘The Complex’

James: ‘The Complex’ is a song about ego. One part is written from the perspective of an oblivious, stubborn and fairly useless character who lacks the self-awareness to recognise his shortcomings. At a point, I started feeling pretty high and mighty, and questioned if I had the right to be weighing in, so that’s wrapped up in there too.

Sometimes it’s really easy to point out the flaws in others while ignoring the same ones in yourself. I’m not sure which part is caricature and which part is real in this song now. It is a real song though, but I tried to google what scale the song was in and www.scales-chords.com told me there were “no scales found matching your criteria.” I swear it’s a real song though.

‘Lifetimer’

Sam: You could simply say that ‘Lifetimer’ is about the love I have for my 21-year-old car. It dawned on me one day that even though these things are built to last forever, there could come a day very soon in which I would have to say goodbye.

‘Wear It Well’

Bec: This song is about starting a new job that has pretty big corporate vibes, and feeling like a bit of a fraud/fake doing it.

It was the first song I worked on for this album and it always feels a bit surf rocky to me but who knows! I can’t really remember writing this one, it’s probably just an idea pinched from a phone memo of me messing around on the bass once.

‘No Balconies’

Bec: This started as a love song for Carlton North where Lisa, James and I currently live. It’s pretty easy to walk around the streets of this suburb and fall in love with it, but it’s also a pretty privileged point of view, so the song kinda dips in and out of loving it and looking at it critically, especially in terms of gentrification of the area.

This song came together pretty differently to the rest of the album. Basically I had an idea for the lyrics and vibe and we just jammed it in the boy’s garage at the time – I just sang, Sam played bass, James guitar and Danny drums and it kinda all came together in the one session.

‘Born Second’

James: Four minutes of middle child syndrome for you! That’s not true, I just liked the title and wanted an excuse to say The Vacant Smiles in a Delivery song. Points to Lisa and Sam for making that guitar breakdown in the middle sound so satisfyingly uncomfortable, and points to me for playing yet another guitar solo on this album.

‘Good’

Lisa: ‘Good’ is, in the most basic form ever, a song about effective altruism and utilitarianism. Sounds a bit wanky but I wrote it after reading a book by this Australian moral philosopher, Peter Singer. It really had me questioning my entire life and career choices… until I remembered I love money.

‘Best Western’

Lisa: ​​During the Covid lockdowns I spent the majority of my time around hotels and motels for my job. Therefore pretty naturally I found myself writing these lyrics about the day to day comings and goings of these places, and all the guests and staff within them. Bec helped me iron it all out in one of our writing sessions and James threw in the “day in day out” part which rules.

Bec: This song was really fun to write, basically just me and Lisa sitting in our lounge room drinking wine and messing around with a few ideas. I had this funky bassline and Lisa had an idea for the theme of the lyrics, we were just scribbling down lyric ideas on pen and paper and playing with the song structure to fit – an extra bottle of wine later we’d pretty much had most of the song down.

Of course James came along and added a whole second half to the song which I also love, and the longest solo to end which feels pretty fitting as the last part of the last song, haha solos forever!

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