Marion-incubated rockers fly the coop and find a home in Columbus

As a high school kid coming of age in Marion, Ohio, Ryder Delavern struggled with social anxiety. When his friends wanted him to come hang out, he'd make up excuses to stay in. He felt like something was wrong with him.

It's a feeling Delavern explores on “Flawed by Design,” one of five tracks on Really Girl Fox, the new EP from Columbus-via-Marion four-piece Girl Fox. “My head hurts, it's betrayed me once again,” Delavern sings in a head-turning croon that recalls the heyday of aughts-era rock acts like the Strokes and the Walkmen.

About halfway through the song, the distorted, down-strummed guitars pause ever-so-briefly to signal a change of direction. “Then I caught my second wind and I saw the way things were,” Delavern sings, sounding audibly relieved.

For Delavern, moving to Columbus with his bandmates about a year ago provided the healthy dose of peer pressure he needed to face that once-crippling internal dread. “If I was feeling anxious, I couldn't just hide away in my room because I had a house full of buddies that were always around. That made it easier to be around people. … Exposure is really good for that kind of thing. I don't really worry about it anymore,” said singer/guitarist Delavern at a Downtown coffee shop, seated next to his housemates: Girl Fox drummer Cable Oldfield and bassist Braxton Foreman (second guitarist Tru Roberts rounds out the lineup and the three-bedroom Old North house).

Delavern got a guitar at age 14 and began writing simple songs he'd perform for his mom, who boosted his confidence by complimenting his singing voice. In 2015, during their senior year of high school, Delavern, Oldfield and Roberts began playing music together, eventually bringing Foreman into the fold about a year and a half ago.

Marion, though, wasn't the most energizing or creatively fulfilling place for a modern indie-rock act. “In Marion, there's a decent amount of people, but nobody listens to the kind of music we play. It's mostly cover bands. We wanted to come out here to where the scene was really going,” Delavern said. “It's been amazing. … Back in Marion, it was more like friends coming out just because they're your friends. Now it's people showing up because they want to be there and listen to the music.”

After recording and releasing a single, “Straight Jacket,” and an EP, Summer Tapes, the bandmates headed to Relay Recording at the end of last year to make Really Girl Fox, which they'll celebrate with a release show at Spacebar on Thursday, June 21. As the EP title implies, it's the truest expression yet of a promising young band in the midst of its second wind.