The invocation of classic west coast psychedelia that permeates Phase Zero, Morgan Delt's debut LP for Sub Pop, feels like a continuous sunrise: never concealing its influences yet perfectly putting its songs through a gauzy lens that blurs and obscures. Is such a thing even possible after witnessing umpteen reverb-jockeys creating their own take on the genre? Can anything truly different be done in the realm of being both original and reverent, wearing favourite records and artists' moves on one's sleeve? Definitely the case with our man here.
Phase Zero, performed entirely by Delt, recorded in his Topanga Canyon studio and then mastered by JJ Golden, is a home-fi construction with a subtle, braintickling character and somewhat reflects a realist take on the flower power fantasy of 1967. Doused in echo and haze, slow chords lap in like Pacific waves, flanked by gentle whispers of multi-tracked, cooing vox, phased guitars and fuzz that calmly surrounds the listener's head less than it jabs at the cortex.
The great thing about Delt's approach to such history is - and sorry to sound harsh – is that unlike too many of his so-called L.A. psych-rock peers, there's no costume involved, no application of a conjured identity to match a specific image. He's no psychedelic Civil War re-enactor, so to speak. It's subtle and tactful revisionism without using psychedelia as a crutch/easy marketing tool and letting the sounds come out and make their own case.