Washed Out – Within and Without (Weird World/Domino)

July 5, 2011 by  

It’s been quite a while for Ernest Greene aka Washed Out to release a full album, this is surprising
considering he released two EP’s in quick succession which were favoured by critics. He is a
pioneer of the chillwave genre which seems to be pushing itself back in today’s music scene with
the likes of upcomer Baths and Toro Y Moi right behind him supporting the cause. And he is signed
to Sub Pop Records which carries an impressive roster to keep up with, including Fleet Foxes, Foals
and Beach House. Sub Pop are hoping to make Washed Out a front runner and poster boy for the
label with the success of the release ‘Within and Without’, which is a well crafted yet laboured
listen.

The album opens with lead single ‘Eyes Be Closed’, a swooning number containing atmospheric
hazy synths and a slow building back beat. This is the formula that Washout Out keeps throughout
the nine tracks and unfortunately it makes the majority of the songs sound too alike. It gets to the
sixth song ‘Before’ and you have that same feeling it will contain ‘atmospheric hazy synths and a
slow building back beat’. You are not wrong with this guess.

‘You and I’ takes a different approach compared to the other tracks and contains vocals from
Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek who adds her dark sultry tones to the eeriest song on the release. The
sample that plays over the beat and the haunting synth that occasionally arrives make this a
refreshing change to the usual soporific, lighter sounds before it.

Washed Out does provide sweet-sounding effects riddled vocals in each song which keeps the
listener enthralled. However on the last song ‘A Dedication’, he shows he may not need so many of
these plugins. His voice naturally sails over a calming stream of piano keys providing a delightful
ending to the album.

For the fans of chillwave and Washed Out’s earlier releases ‘Within and Without’ is a bolstered and
tightly mastered new album which still contains his signature style. However for unfamiliar
listeners this maybe a tiring listen which floats on aimlessly never seeming to pick up any speed or
purpose.

[rating:3]


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