The group is innovating indie rock, transforming it into something that breaks beyond genre.
Eliza & The Delusionals create increasingly sophisticated indie rock music thanks to their appealing hooks that echo the group’s influences like the White Stripes and Catfish and the Bottlemen. After adding a bassist, the Australian-bred quartet released their second EP A State of Living in an Objective Reality in March under Cooking Vinyl. Throughout the EP’s five songs, a range within the group’s general sound is established, as bandleader Eliza Klatt steers creation during a depressive state that’s uplifted by the band’s musical accompaniment.
“Just Exist,” their single first released in 2019, is the EP’s breakthrough, giving a promising insight of what is yet to come from the group. The song has the best qualities of a classic indie number: calm vocals that eventually reach a cathartic breaking point, encoded in lyrics that express a longing just beyond reach, waiting to be burst open. Klatt says “Just Exist” is about “the balance of feeling depressed and feeling creative and inspired by those feelings,” using the chorus to emphasize that without a creative outlet to express her sadness, she would just be existing. The song maintains an alluring lull until the 2:45 mark, where Klatt raises her voice and her band backs her with strong conviction, becoming so infectious it urges the listener to sing along.
Apart from “Just Exist” the EP offers four other tracks that differ in strength but show promise nonetheless. The opening song is “Swimming Pools,” which mixes oceanic metaphor with a confliction of judgment, shown in the chorus, “Baby, I’ll be the one to just dive in/ Even when the sign says ‘don't swim.’” The song’s bridge proposes an underlying pressured claustrophobia, saying, “I’m just a girl in a rose-colored world/ Maybe that’s all you’ll let me be,” echoing one of Klatt’s influences No Doubt in “Just A Girl.”
“Pull Apart Heart” is the other single off the EP, which relays self-aware emotional delicacy with a catchy melody, mostly relying on Klatt singing the song’s title with wistful remorse. The song opens, “Pick apart the pieces of my mind/ And in the morning, I’ll tell you that I’m fine,” as the speaker knows the actions they will take before they will even admit it.
After “Just Exist” comes “ALIVE,” the all-caps title glaring at the listener in defiance. The fourth song sounds like an electrified, Speak Now-era Taylor Swift, demanding answers to rhetorical questions aloud like “I know I’m not the only one/ Why do I feel like the only one?”
The final song, “Feel It All (and Nothing),” comes off more desolate than the others, as Klatt sings, “And I feel it all when I listen to that album alone,” capturing moments of isolation that listeners can identify with.
A State of Living in an Objective Reality focuses on the internal and physical drainage that comes along with the murky areas of relationships and deteriorating mental health. Despite the defeating aspects of these themes, the audience can find healing in the honesty of their lyrics and how music can liberate a clouded mind. These five songs talk about feared loneliness, feeling fucked up while crying in the shower, and everyday depression, topics often shied away from in popular music and rarely with rock sensibilities. Eliza & The Delusionals are exciting to watch for their transparency that doesn’t glorify or condemn, and for their music that doesn’t revolutionize but uplifts. While a full-length album may not be in their immediate future, their thirteen released songs can hold listeners over for now.
HS: What are the primary influences of the band's sound? Any artist or group in particular that you kept coming back to while making this EP?
EK: The four of us have really different music influences, but we definitely meet in the middle with a lot of indie and alternative music, and a lot of bands from the '90s. For me, personally, Coldplay has been a huge influence as they were the first band I ever saw in concert. I also have had a lot of influence from bands like No Doubt and Garbage. I think while doing a lot of the writing for this EP, I was listening to a lot of Car Seat Headrest and Snail Mail. I don't think our music really sounds like either of those bands but there is probably some influence deep down inside the songs.
HS: Since it's been three years since The Delusional's first EP, did you find the process of making A State of Living In An Objective Reality different?
EK: Absolutely. Between the first EP and this new one, we had grown and changed a lot as a band and as people. We had done a lot of touring in between recording, and we had also gone through a lot of changes in our personal lives. So going into the studio for this EP was much more of a creative release to all of that.
HS: How would you describe your sound to someone who's never heard your music?
EK: I always find this question tough because everyone's ideas of genres are so different. But I would call it an alternative/indie-pop sound with lots of guitar hooks.
HS: Has the hypothetical future of the band changed in any way since the release of the new EP?
EK: Definitely. Since the first single “Just Exist” came out from the EP things have changed drastically for us. We were lucky enough to get high rotation on Alt Nation and it massively grew our fanbase in the United States. It led to us getting a bunch of really great touring opportunities over there. We just finished up a tour with Silversun Pickups, which was unreal. But, unfortunately, due to the current state of the world, a lot of those shows have been canceled or moved around, which is really disheartening for us.
HS: Since your promotional tour dates have been canceled for the immediate future, are you guys communicating with fans on social media? Is there any way listeners can help support you during this difficult time?
EK: We're doing our best to keep connected with people. I feel very lucky that social media has such a strong presence and can bring people together so easily, so it's been really fun to livestream with people. We're coming up with some new ideas of how we can keep connecting, so definitely stay tuned for that. And in terms of supporting us or any of your favourite bands, don't stop listening. Buy music (Bandcamp is a great way to do so) or buy merch from them if you are able to, and don't lose that online connection with them either. I know artists (us included) are trying their hardest to come up with new and broader ways to connect with people, because these are very difficult and uncertain times for the music industry. ✰
Johanna Sommer is a young music appreciator and obsessive fan from Buffalo, NY. Currently, she attends Purchase College as a freshman journalism major. Johanna loves nothing more than to write about music’s universal capacity, and how it can unite people of all backgrounds. Johanna has been published in The Buffalo News and Uniquely Aligned. She writes for her school newspaper, magazine, and music journalism journal.