Washed Out Within and Without(Sub Pop) Buy it from Insound
Chillwave is dying out for a reason. It’s a decent idea, and some pretty great stuff has come out of it, but, in the end, it’s very limited in its scope. Washed Out’s first full length, Within and Without, is a shining example of the genres limitations. Ernest Green, the man behind the name, was one of the flag bearers of something new and interesting when his first string of EPs came out in 2009. Had this record come out then, it may have sounded more intriguing than it does today.
His sound is apparently better suited to short EPs, because it all sounds the same. It's pleasant enough music that captures a hazy summer day, but after forty minutes it begins to wear thin. The gauzy and reverb laden vocals sound nice and all, but that’s all it is; pleasant background music. It can set the mood, but it can’t create one. All the songs are around the same tempo, and the instrumentation never really changes much. Every song sounds like it was made for a commercial.
Some songs change it up a bit, but only enough to barely catch the ear at first. Far Away uses a chiming sound and a shuffling beat, and just those two elements of interest make it an album highlight. Single Amor Fati is another highlight, showcasing the best of his style.
It’s a shame that Washed Out released an album this mediocre, considering how much I enjoyed the Life Of Leisure EP. It’s just flat out dull, and sounds worn out in 2011. Its forty minutes of hazy keyboards, vocals and not much else. There’s a significant lack of depth to Within and Without.10 November, 2011 - 22:04 — Andrew Baer