Do you ever get the feeling you were born in the wrong decade? Like I would have loved to have been born in the ’40s or ’50s, amongst the baby boomers and after the war, in order to be able to appreciate the ever-changing times and certainly the shift in music during the ’60s and ’70s (when I would have been an impressionable young lad), from simple guitar chord progressions to new experimentation with then-unheard-of instrumentation.
But I digress. I’m a product of Generation Y and a hopeless romantic. I’ve got my own ever-changing times to worry about. Luckily, though, I am also experiencing a changing-tide of musical experimentation with independent acts that are going above and (way) beyond the borders of what we currently refer to as “music,” and they’re doing so in more frequently grand fashions, particularly in the psychedelic genre. I’d like to think I’m satisfied with dreaming of then and living with when and where I am now, and I can only hope that sentiment is also felt in the mind of LA’s flower-power psych-pop rocker Morgan Delt.
Delt’s debut self-titled LP on Trouble In Mind feels best situated on a vinyl rack between The Byrds, Strawberry Alarm Clock, and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, but his productions are in line with those of today’s newer influences, such as Ariel Pink and Jon Maus, whose focus is much more on refinement of the genre rather than mere reflection. In fact, Delt sounds like a more palatable version of these bands put together, one in which his vocals are as integral to the lo-fi atmospheres as the effect pedals and whose melodies are intelligible and, most importantly, enjoyable.
Delt takes most advantage on side one of the LP, where the overall production reveals his knack for precision. These are not just trippy façades; “Mr. Carbon Copy,” “Obstacle Eyes,” and “Chakra Sharks” blend murk with glimmer and zip, creating veritable pop tracks with this multi-layered depth that allows you to listen to everything and not just hear a conglomeration of noises. You’re amidst the heady guitars and drums instead of being against them, and Delt’s smart to leave you there just long enough that you don’t get lost in them.
The best of the bunch, “Barbarian Kings,” which was originally featured on Delt’s 2013 cassette EP, Psychic Death Hole, naturally leads you into a headspace unlike any I’ve heard in quite some time. There’s a density to his vocals here that isn’t necessarily felt throughout the rest of the album due to the songs’ psych-pop constructions. When the vocals are lifted high and above his floating instrumentals, it suggests that there is a lot more to the man behind the music than we are lead to believe. You almost want to extend your hand out and touch him, but find yourself adrift in sounds that best keep you at bay.
The album ends with “Main Title Sequence,” which you would probably expect to be at the beginning of the record, but this first album is just the beginning of Delt’s career and ending on this note will bring us into what will hopefully be a second record of new inventions, with more refinements and soul searching. He carries with him a load of influences but comes out with some twists of his own and with some deep results, as if he’s confident with where and when he is — unlike this reviewer.
Morgan Delt is available tomorrow, January 28th, via Trouble In Mind.
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