Washed Out is the embodiment of one guy and his creativity. Ernest Greene, the man behind the music, began by working in his bedroom studio in the middle of the rural town Perry, Georgia. In 2009, Washed Out released two EPs, most notably Life of Leisure with hit numbers “Feel It All Around” and “New Theory” in September, which put him on the map. His new full length album, Within and Without, definitely sounds like it fits in a series of Washed Out’s previous work. Within and Without continues the chillwave style and is mellower than Washed Out’s previous work. Each and every track feels extremely thought provoking and relaxing.
Greene retained the elements that made Washed Out a staple of conversations and this album will leave listeners coming back for more. As a whole, this extremely chill album can easily become a comforting blur of hazy vocals and tranquil syths. Upon closer inspection though, the CD is brimming with diversity from a few very notable changes. Upbeat, bright songs are intertwined with darker, melancholy tracks. Unlike his previous work, Within and Without includes instruments, with drums, strings and piano. Greene also ended the CD with the surprising twist that is “A Dedication.” This song emphasizes Greene’s vocal ability and teases listeners with the potential of Greene exploring new musical genres in the future.
The opening song, “Eyes Be Closed,” cascades and immediately creates a peaceful lull, placing listeners smack in the middle of the chillwave movement. “Amor Fati,” the third song, is particularly powerful. The title is Latin for “love of fate,” which means living with an attitude that all—including pain or loss—is inherently good. Greene manages to create a track filled with joy and pain all on his own. Title track, “Within and Without,” really highlights how compelling and haunting Greene’s instrumentation and synths can be. The anticipated dreamy vocals begin at the second verse and cut out relatively quickly. Greene showcases a tremendous amount of ability in this song that somehow makes it feel glittery.
Washed Out has only gotten stronger as Ernest Greene has developed musically. This album will create fans where they never existed before and leave devoted followers baffled. In one album, Greene has been true to the existing Washed Out image while managing to evolve his style greatly.