Music Reviews

Washed Out Paracosm

(Sub Pop) Rating - 7/10

Bad news first: this album will not force you to make-out with every person you see on the street. That could be good news for some, but unlike the debut album, Within and Without, Paracosm isn’t exactly meant for sexy time. There’s also not a Feel It All Around level of intensity with any single track. This is a classic case of ‘the same but different’. The good news is Ernest Greene appears to have a bigger picture this time. Everything about Paracosm is an expansion, which is exactly what you want from a sophomore album. The spectrum of temperament is grander. Textures are aggrandized with new instruments, sounds and layers. It’s an age of enlightenment that meets chillwave. Greene, who is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, probably had a hell of a time with the details.

He takes you directly into the belly of a paracosm with Entrance, living up to the title and the stereotypical soundscapes of a dream world. Birds chirping, people laughing, and somehow we all obtain the ability to actually hear the sun shining and clouds passing. It All Feels Right, the pre-released single, is not a suggestion. It immediately demands a memory or flashback. Specifically a moment in time when your biggest problem was when/if you’re going to catch the ice cream truck circulating your neighborhood that afternoon.

Against all cynical-hipsters’ advice, Greene is completely okay with claiming himself as a happy person who simply wanted to write about the beauty in life. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but let’s face it; this hippie-dippie point of view is slightly outdated in the world of indie music. Most dream/synth/chillwave artists will at least give you a window for pessimism and melancholy. The moments that offer the most contemplation, such as Weightless, still make you feel like you’re in the climax of a wretched 80’s romantic comedy where the nerd finally gets the girl. There’s still something hopeful there.

Greene also appears to come a tad closer to his roots. Within and Without was a rebellious move against the Southern comforts he received as a kid. Nothing about this person or that album says Perry, Georgia. However, Paracosm has clearer vocals and a subtle rock tone that could possible serve as a peace offering to his origin. Even though there aren’t any forcible tracks or extreme depth to this album, it captures an experience that should be played out entirely. You wouldn’t enter a fantasyland or imaginary place just to have one single emotion. If you play around there long enough, there’s a plethora of enjoyment.