Morgan Delt - Phase Zero album review

Morgan Delt delivers some tripped-out psych from California (naturally)

Morgan Delt - Phase Zero album art

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Morgan Delt’s self-titled debut of 2014 was crafted from variations on a well-thumbed theme, namely the sun-crisped psychedelia of the West Coast’s golden age. Phase Zero does much the same thing, only a little more persuasively. Recorded at his studio in Topanga Canyon, it’s entirely his own work, Delt multi-tracking himself with the kind of attention to detail that might please fans of Emitt Rhodes or the late Curt Boettcher.

Indeed, the latter’s 60s oeuvre is a key touchstone here, the album often evoking the dreamier end of Boettcher projects like Sagittarius or The Millennium. That said, it manages to avoid any concessions to cheap revisionism, largely down to Delt’s diligent use of phased guitars, hallucinatory vocals and a filmy approach that spans the divide between shoegaze and The Flaming Lips.

At times he brings to mind the velvety incantations of Tame Impala, especially on Sun Powers and the very lovely I Don’t Wanna See What’s Happening Outside. The notion of flight seems to be a recurring theme here. The Age Of The Birdman considers the plight of those fleeing Easter Island’s environmental demise, the survivors clinging to rafts in the Pacific, while Escape Capsule could be a postscript to CSN’s Wooden Ships.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.