Washed Out | Within and Without

Sub Pop (2011)
By LIZ PELLY  |  July 13, 2011
3.5 3.5 Stars

Washed Out

Two summers ago, a number of glo-fi buzz bands surfed trendy chillwaves around the blogosphere, reaching mild popularity amongst fans of subtle, retro dance beats and laid-back vibes. Although many of these were just bored bros in their bedroom who figured out how to use Reason and Tumblr, a few were actually talented, budding producers, shouting through tin cans (read: the Internet) from remote, isolated places. For Washed Out's 28-year-old Ernest Greene, that place was Peach County, Georgia, where he started recording music at his parents' 30-acre orchid. He's now onto his first full-length record, a solid contender for one of the best dance or pop albums of the year. Following two 2009 EPs, Life of Leisure (Mexican Summer) and High Times (a cassette-only release via Mirror Universe Tapes), Within and Without is chillwave 2.0. It takes the same hazy late-night bedroom synthpop, but amps it up exponentially, with live instruments (cello, bass, violins, drums), guidance from superstar producer Ben Allen (who co-produced Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion and Deerhunter's Halcyon Digest), and more meticulously crafted songs. It starts with bouncy beats; bright, soaring synth lines; and the appropriately washed-out vocal texture of single "Eyes Be Closed," followed by the equally immersive and atmospheric "Echoes." The poppier "Amor Fati" maintains the slow psych-mesh of guitar, synths, and vocals, but with a more solid structure that builds and builds. With more room for echoing synths and grandiose soundscapes, Greene has created a sound equally as suited to bedrooms and headphones as to swanky night clubs or the last hour of a buzzy rager — updating the sound of his 2009 hit "Feel It All Around" and making it timeless. Chillwave forever.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, full-length, first,  More more >
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