chill wave, whatever that is
never heard such low key music with lyrics you can't understand
only a couple of tracks I could bear to here again
Grade - 1.1
released July 12th, 2011
from the album - Eyes Be Closed - 1.0
from all music
Ernest Greene had been involved in a number of musical endeavors by the time he started putting together a series of recordings as Washed Out. Leading up to his first Washed Out recordings in the summer of 2009, Greene had worked on a similarly noisy and computerized (albeit far more guitar-heavy and fast-paced) bedroom recording project called Lee Weather. He had also worked on a series of dance music recordings with a local band in Columbia, SC called Bedroom. Washed Out's initial offerings -- drowsy, distorted, dance pop-influenced tracks that brought to mind Neon Indian and Memory Cassette -- would reflect the influence of both of these projects. Mexican Summer digitally released Washed Out's debut EP, Life of Leisure, in mid-2009; the EP was slated for release on vinyl in October of that year. A limited-edition, cassette-only release, the High Times EP, was scheduled for release on Mirror Universe that September. In 2011, Greene signed on with Sub Pop, releasing his first full-length as Washed Out, Within and Without, later that year.
Within and Without is Washed Out's debut album for Sub Pop and the first chance a wide audience will have to hear Ernest Greene’s brand of dreamy, drowsy synth pop. While many will be drawn into the slickly sweet sound he creates, those who already knew of Washed Out’s work may find themselves disappointed by the glossy, overcooked production. Early singles and EPs had a slightly ramshackle sound built on cheap-sounding synths and Greene's pleading (and buried-in-reverb) vocals; this LP has a sound so shimmery and sleek it slides right through your brain without leaving a mark. The synthesizers sound fresh-out-of-the-box new and the drum machines sound like they were borrowed from an early-'90s electronic group (like Ultramarine, for example); everything sounds so clean and processed. Granted, as it passes through your brain, the effect will be pleasant and often pleasurable since there are no sharp edges to distract you and the melodies are nice enough. The way Greene layers the synths is also pretty and his low-in-the-mix vocals have a tender and yearning quality. Unfortunately, all this pleasantness means there are few hooks or memorable tunes to hold on to -- no songs as catchy or immediately satisfying as the early singles “Feel It All Around” and “Belong,” no songs you will end up remembering once the album ends. Greene’s reliance on texture and the soft, billowing sound of the album mean it’s often not much more than very nice background music that captures the ambiance of a mid-level sushi restaurant perfectly but leaves no lasting impression. While that may sound pretty harsh, there is a place in the world of music for albums that successfully fill the space in your life when you want to hear something nice and don’t want to be overly engaged or challenged. Within and Without will satisfy your needs in that regard, and only those looking for memorable songs or fresh sounds will feel let down.
1 Eyes Be Closed
3 Amor Fati
5 Far Away
7 You and I
8 Within and Without
9 A Dedication