Within and Without
Released: July 12 2011
Genre: Synthpop / Chillwave
Label: Sub Pop
By: Terri O’Reilly
Ernest Greene, the young man behind Washed Out, is a fast growing name that one should become familiar with – a definite one to watch for the future. Clearly marking his territory with his debut EP Life of Leisure, Greene is doing so again with his debut album, Within and Without; Laced with that synthpop, chillwave/lo-fi flare that Ernest knows, and executes only too well.
The opening track Eyes Be Closed is a great example of his talent, yet it lacks something that can only be hoped for in the following tracks. With so much to his name, you would think that it would kick off with something along the lines of Amor Fati, nonetheless it is still a synthypop dreamlike song that keeps a steady balance just like the eight others that follow.
Echoes, the second track, is comparable to the dreamlike nature of its predecessor, yet it has a Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs feel, with rhythmic patterns watered down to create a mood and noise of its own. Amor Fati is a highlight of the album for its light-joyful-sunshine-everything-is-all-peaches-and-cream sentiment. “Don’t try / you’ll find / was not your fault / the goal / reach out / the choice is yours to find” oozes out optimism and echoes from every line, to every word, to every sound.
Soft lasts just over five and a half minutes, and like its title it is incredibly soft sounding and simplistic. Though repetitive lyrically for just over five and a half minutes, it is surprisingly not insipid and which would assume fall flat, rather bursts with beauty. With Far Away, the beat changes, yet the fact that Ernest Greene’s voice never deviates from the first song to the last is what holds the continuous balance and flow throughout the album.
Before is a masterpiece of the “chillwave” genre, and can be left as such. Clearly it is a work of art, morphing the perfect balance of lyric and creative sound into a divine sensation. You and I, is a perfect track to follow up Before, maintaining the mellow dreamlike sound, adhering to the strong believer and fan of the genre.
The eighth track Within and Without, which obviously lends a hand in the naming of the album itself, seems to be the missing link to the chain. It lacks the creative spark that was so eminent to all of the previous tracks, yet with A Dedication all is forgotten. Though one might find A Dedication a total deviation from the rest of the album because of the piano introduction – later followed by synths and a pop-like invasion – it truly showcases Washed Out as he emerges as a dynamic, all-round performer.
Washed Out – Eyes Be Closed