This time last year my life was sound tracked by a handful of hazy, fuzzed out pop songs in the form of Washed Out’s Life of Leisure EP – 6 slices of deliciously summery bliss that seemed to be released (or re-released) at just the right time. Washed Out is the stage name of musician Ernest Greene who moved back to Perry, Georgia in June 2009. Now Washed Out is releasing his debut album Within and Without on Sub Pop, and it looks like the backing music to the summer has once again been claimed by the Georgia native.
Maybe you’ve heard the new Washed Out record already via the NPR stream a week or so ago or from one of the various leaks floating around the internet. Maybe you’re waiting for the physical release due to some respectable iron moral code. Whatever your chosen listening method I urge you to give Washed Out – Within and Without a listen at least once this summer. Don’t be put off by the extremely blogtastic and somewhat nonsensical ‘chillwave’ tag (or even ‘glo-fi’ if you’re one of the hardcore few still clutching on to that moniker). This year has seen the genre expand in leaps and bounds from its 80s nostalgia, bedroom pop on wobbly cassettes days — as fellow Godfather of chillwave Neon Indian hopes to prove with his second full length later this year.
The hardest part of the Washed Out album is probably getting past the opening 30 seconds which for some reason sounds a little Enya-esque or like one of those weird chillout compilations you’d find in the More Store in the 90s. Probably with a picture of a horse looking suspiciously high while standing next to a Native American on the cover. Once that passes though you enter into Washed Out’s world of trippy synths, hazy vocals and a whole load of pop hooks.
The songs on Within and Without feel much fuller and considered than Washed Out’s previous work as he makes full use of his sonic palette and incorporates elements of 80s pop, trip hop, a little funk and shoegaze fuzz for good measure. The whole album has a relentlessly upbeat attitude beneath its fuzzed out, underwater anthems feel. Imagine getting a hug from an octopus off his tits on acid. If that’s hard for you to imagine it’s probably because you have no idea where an octopus’ tits are.
For me the stand out track on Within and Without has to be Amor Fati which manages to be both nostalgic and forward looking in equal measure with a synth line in the back that sounds like it could have been ripped wholesale from late 90s pop radio.
Like his previous work, Washed Out’s latest will be sure to be soundtracking hazy summer evenings. Once the barbecue’s died down and the people that you didn’t really like anyway have gone on to some other party then this is the album you should be playing.
Washed Out – Amor Fati