Stepping up to the big leagues, Morgan Delt makes the leap from Trouble in Mind to Sub Pop for his sophomore LP. The album’s still drenched in a psychedelic shimmer, though it become a more cohesive shine on Phase Zero than his more stitched together eponymous album. Delt seemed like an unlikely bump up from the psych underground. I liked his first tape and the album that grew out of it, but he’d felt like he was still finding his footing in those early recordings. He finds it well on Phase Zero, though, and to my delight he’s crafted something that runs better as an album than as individual tracks. As the label began to roll this one out in pieces, none of these hit hard. They weren’t particularly earworms or singles as such, but its when the whole picture comes into view that Delt’s prowess begins to take shape. The songs bleed into one another, creating a blurry and billowed tapestry of sound that’s immediately earnest in its psychedelic pursuit and engulfing in its longview approach.
Delt buries his vocals under a sea of echo and a dizzying world of kaleidoscope touches, painting with bright wide strokes and sketching in intricate details with a finer point. The album takes its cues from a host of 60’s nuggets that lean towards the pastoral and delicate; echoing bits of JK & Co., Millennium, Sagittarius and The Free Design while weaving some more intense moments through tracks like “Mssr. Monster” and “Sun Powers” that keep it headed into a proggier territory than might befit those touchstones. Its truly one of those albums that kicks an artist’s game up a notch, digesting the past and wearing a workbook of psych exploration on his sleeve, but still finding time to build something wholly his own in the process. Delt’s proven himself more than an imitator here and for any collector of psych gems, this stands as an excellent addition to any collection.
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