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.