OBSTACLE EYES by MORGAN DELT
By all accounts, Morgan Delt is a normal enough guy, living in Los Angeles probably with a cat and the same need to pay the bills as the rest of us. Still, if one were to judge by the sound of his debut self-titled album released in 2014 by the fine folks at Trouble in Mind, it might seem like Mr. Delt was flash-frozen in 1967 while in the process of making his own version of “Strawberry Fields Forever” or “My White Bicycle,” then only recently thawed out. It has all the trippy elegance of the former and all the phased hookiness of the latter, while adding a bedroom-crafted intimacy that is the only aspect of the record that dates it as a modern production. While the album sounds like a note-perfect take on psych pop from start to finish that was crafted by someone who owns at least a wall full of Nuggets, Pebbles, and Rubble compilations, it also benefits from Delt’s knack for catchy songwriting. A lot of people have done the same kind of excavation and restoration work he has, but few have done it as memorably. Almost no one has done it with songs as good as these. Tracks like the undulating “Mr. Carbon Copy,” the rampaging “Chakra Sharks,” and the sunny with a chance of weirdness “Obstacle Eyes” sound amazing with their period finery, but would be just as nice stripped down and done in a more sedate fashion. Best of them all are the songs that could be slotted in on a late-’60s psych comp and not only fit in, but be highlights. Songs like the seriously melted with a giant chorus “Barbarian Kings” and the brilliantly arranged “Make My Grey Brain Green” would make the Pretty Things’ brains green with envy and would make almost any fan of this kind of music incredibly happy. Delt may be a normal guy; he may have traveled through time with a stop to steal Faine Jade’s (look him up!) soul. Regardless of how he came to make Morgan Delt, it was all worth it because this is timeless psychedelic music of the highest quality imaginable.