REVIEW: Washed Out – “Within And Without”

Washed Out / Within And Without / Sub Pop

Ernest Greene is known for two things: being a Library Science major who helped give birth to Portlandia’s theme song and defining “chillwave” through his project Washed Out. Let it be noted: chillwave isn’t the abandoned offspring from some 80s’ pop experiment gone wrong. In fact, it’s much more as Within And Without shows ambition, a trait Animal Collective solo adventures have severely lacked. Part of that reason: its appeal. While the associated genre is almost a conjured image of present-day Death Cab For Cutie wandering onto the beach with a keyboard and teenage intentions, Greene and his attention to flow makes his Sub Pop debut a moving picture. The dreamy vocals backed against avid beats (“Soft”) and the ominous arrangements (“Far Away”) speak thoughts of intimacy, lust and escapism, which trigger a mature form of dream pop and in turn questions Within And Without’s integrity.

If an artist played with one style and didn’t experiment, their limits wouldn’t be explored. Luckily, Washed Out do that. On “Eyes Be Closed” and “Amor Fati”, Greene’s voice exhibits more warmth yet relapses in unifying with the scattered 80s’ sounds. His love for using sample-based hip hop instrumentals as a spine (“Before”, “Within And Without”) are ear fixations that ripple on smoothly until he turns the whole Washed Out image upside down and out drips “A Dedication”, a closing ode to a childhood sweetheart that’s fragile and artful. There lies the human connection Greene sincerely attempts to institute, making nine tracks inseparable to some and to others, clarifying it’s just a little bit more than a mixtape for a sensual, stoned love-making romp.

Download: “Within And Without”, “A Dedication”


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