Delivery – ‘Forever Giving Handshakes’ review: everyone gets a look in on this invigorating punk debut

All five members of the Melbourne band contribute vocals to this lively record full of guitar interplay and sociopolitical critique

Formed during lockdown, Delivery have only existed as a band for two years – and they didn’t even play their first live show until March 2021. Yet the scrappy Melbourne five-piece have debuted with one of the year’s best local punk albums, casually nailing jerky guitar interplay and sidelong singalongs.

The thrilling immediacy of ‘Forever Giving Handshakes’ doesn’t come as a total surprise. Delivery’s members play in an impressive array of other bands, spanning the punchy abrasion of Gutter Girls, Blonde Revolver and Soursob as well as the jangly melodicism of The Vacant Smiles, Mug and House Deposit. The band originally sprang from couple Rebecca Allan and James Lynch, who shared vocal duties at the time, but now there are four alternating lead singers while drummer Daniel Devlin contributes backing vocals.

Following a promising pair of vinyl singles, this album captures Delivery’s rapid growth into a band where everyone gets a creative look in. Often up to three guitars can be heard engaging in anxious conversation, while askew group vocals announce the record’s democratic approach right from opener ‘Picture This’. That makes for plenty of spiky urgency across this record, from the digital vocal stutter midway through ‘Poor-to-Middling Moneymaking’ to the wiry Eddy Current Suppression Ring vibe of ‘Lifetimer’.

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As catchy as can be, these garage-punk anthems mock greed and other capitalist fixtures without distracting from their sharply melodic angles and tangles. ‘No Homes’ depicts people lining up to gamble at casinos even as affordable housing dries up around Australia, and ‘No Balconies’ flags rising prices across the board. Meanwhile, the Kinks-esque ‘Office Party’ applies a lighter musical touch but pokes fun at writing reviews and seeing others get credit for them.

Delivery’s lyrics aren’t quite as direct or easy to parse as those of, say, Pinch Points – who also released a standout Aussie punk album this year – but the two bands share a snotty contempt for accepted authority that makes them a lot of relatable fun. See the terrific single ‘Baader Meinhof’, which answers a wonky keyboard hook with a big, brash chorus featuring multiple members singing at once.

Recorded and mixed by guitarist Sam Harding, ‘Forever Giving Handshakes’ immediately mints a higher profile for Delivery, following recent touring with Tropical Fuck Storm and a spot on the bill at next year’s Golden Plains. The band have admitted to still figuring out their sound while making this record, but rather than being a source of instability, that gives these songs an invigorating round-robin of distinct voices and contributions.

For all that rapid-fire shuffling between singers and approaches from song to song, the record holds together remarkably well. You can hear that best on the closing ‘Best Western’, which spotlights the chewy rhythm section before latching onto yet another needling chorus and coaxing those tripled guitars to a satisfying climax. It’s the perfect send-off for a debut album that makes the idea of starting a band with your friends sound more appealing than ever.

Details

Delivery Forever Giving Handshakes album art
  • Release date: November 11
  • Record label: Spoilsport/Anti Fade/Feel It
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