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Morgan Delt: Phase Zero [Slipcase] *

Track List

>I Don't Wanna See What's Happening Outside
>System of 1000 Lies, The
>Another Person
>Sun Powers
>Age of the Birdman, The
>Mssr. Monster
>Gun Appears, A
>Lowest of the Low, The
>Escape Capsule
>Some Sunsick Day

Album Notes

After releasing one awe-inspiring neo-psych album for Trouble in Mind, Morgan Delt jumped to Sub Pop for his next effort, 2016's Phase Zero. His first album was a stunning re-creation of '60s psychedelia, acid rock, folk-rock and twisted sunshine pop all filtered through a home studio aesthetic and spit back out in technicolor clouds of sound. His melodies were entrancing, the way he layered the fuzz and flowers together was masterful, and he generally made the kind of record that if it were released in 1967, would have been hailed as a classic. In other words, an album that would seem very hard to follow up, much less top. Amazingly, Phase Zero does both of those. Delt hasn't lost any of his dazed wonder, hasn't moved his operation to a big studio, didn't collaborate with anyone, and basically took what he did on the first album and gave it an extra dose or ten of sunshine. Where Morgan Delt was a little creepy and almost doomy around the edges, Phase Zero is like downing a month's worth of Vitamin D all in one mouthful. The freaky fuzz has been traded out for gentle acoustic guitars, the arrangements burst with twinkling keys and shimmering waves of echo, and Delt's vocals sound like Colin Blunstone if he spent about a week sunning himself on a Santa Monica beach. It's a shift in approach for sure, but it works thanks to Delt's sure-handed production, his melodic gifts, and the intricate layers of sound he stacks in precise patterns. It's really a pretty album, with some songs that are perfect for immobile summer days ("Sun Powers," the very peaceful "Some Sunsick Day"), trippy summer nights (the very Zombies-sounding "Mssr. Monster," "Escape Capsule"), and times when you just want to hear a perfect psych pop tune ("I Don't Wanna See What's Happening Outside.") That tune and a couple others, most notably the dubby "The Lowest of the Low," show the influence of a strain of electronic psych that people like Caribou and Koushik were messing around with in the late 2000s, especially the latter's 2008 album Out My Window. Delt does it just as well as they did, and while it doesn't make his music sound modern, exactly, the new wrinkle makes him seem like less of a throwback somehow. It also helps to make Phase Zero a nice step forward from his already close to perfect debut and his sound is now filled with even more summer warmth and psychedelic wonder. Lots of people are making music like this in 2016, but very few are making it this impressively. ~ Tim Sendra


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