“I probably only have one foot in reality most of the time,” Morgan Delt said in an interview recently. When you listen to the heady psych pop of the L.A. graphic designer’s debut LP, the sentiment rings particularly true: Songs like “Barbarian Kings” don’t sound anything like modern-day California — they provide a window-peek into another, more colorful world, adorned with tambourines, beatific harmonies, acid-washed harpsichord and warbling electric guitars. Delt gives us “bah bah bah” earworms that recall the Millennium, Love and the Zombies; it’s not a stretch to compare his dense home-recorded soundscapes to those by his fellow L.A.-based 1960s psych apostle White Fence.
He has an ear for odd moments: A bleak, minimal void opens up in the center of “Little Zombies,” two persistent bass notes cutting through empty space and Delt’s vocals echoing back on themselves until his words are unrecognizable. Across the record, Delt explores a variety of tones — dystopian raga, garage-rock urgency, 1960s studio-wizard beauty. On “Beneath the Black and Purple,” he grounds the album’s more far-out moments with firm, stomping percussion and a fuzzy, scrappy hook typical of the early Kinks. It’s an adventurous album and is, to date, the greatest psychedelic triumph from Trouble in Mind Records, which is really saying something.