Weird World’s Ernest ‘Washed Out’ Greene has taken his time following up two sumptuous EPs of electro-pop which announced him as director-general of the oft-maligned chillwave scene. Since then, artists like Toro Y Moi have joined Greene in making lysergic laptop electronica, so can ‘Within And Without’ up the ante?
While 2009’s ‘Life Of Leisure’ exhibited raw promise constructed from Macintosh trickery and subtle samples, ‘Within And Without’ sees Washed Out working with Ben Allen (credits: AnCo, Gnarls Barkley, Deerhunter).
Greene has obviously spent time on his songcraft and Allen draws out its subtleties, encouraging Greene to be more expansive. On ‘Amor Fati,’ glistening Euro-pop meets Slowdive-esque nu-gaze and trancey synths; the shuffling ‘Far Away’ is draped in rich orchestral arrangements and a baggy rhythm while ‘Before’ is Ulrich Schnauss-style Balearica with a twinkling melody. Greene’s vocals are mostly a lazy drawl; on closer ‘A Dedication’, a trip-hoppy, smacked-out take on The Smiths ‘Sing Me To Sleep’, they’re subtle and gorgeously mournful. Like the hazy narcotronica of Caribou, Washed Out’s approach is less traditionally song-
like, more multi-layered constructs – yet it’s not wilfully experimental. Chillwave’s time may be over, but this album of smart, fuzzy, warming electronica proves that Washed Out now inhabits a higher plane.
File under Smoky, electronic alt-pop par excellence
Download ‘Amor Fati’, ‘Far Away’, ‘Within And Without’
Like this? Try Toro Y Moi ‘Underneath The Pine’ (Carpark)
Buy on Beatport here