Washed Out
Within and Without


2.5
average

Review

by Conrad Tao EMERITUS
June 27th, 2011 | 88 replies | 20,226 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ernest Greene presents Within and Without, a new fragrance from Washed Out, a pleasant aroma that refrains from being too obtrusive. Or, for that matter, interesting.

Within and Without is the quintessential chillwave record, existing in that gorgeously amniotic headspace that was so fashionable two years ago. And since the hazy sonics of the scene have been in hibernation for most of the year (save for Toro Y Moi's pretty-good Underneath The Pine), Washed Out's first full-length proper has the benefit of sounding like a refreshing change of pace. If he doesn't deviate from the chillwave formula of enormous and lightly overdriven drum machine beats, layered woozy synths, a generally psychedelic atmosphere, and disembodied vocals, so be it - he practically invented the formula, back when the style was in its nascent stages, and made an effective case for it with his debut Life of Leisure EP. Besides, the formula is pretty enjoyable, as shown on album opener "Eyes Be Closed", a gorgeous piece of hypnagogic pop with a BPM just too slow to properly dance that still demands the body to move. When the track was first released a couple of months ago, it was extremely promising, suggesting that Greene was taking the distinctive elements of his earlier material and fleshing them out more fully.

Here's the thing, though - as good as "Eyes Be Closed" may be, it's a really thick listen, the kind of song best enjoyed when lying down on a balcony when it's 96 degrees outside. For Within and Without to be successful as an album, Greene would have to provide some variety for his listeners. Aside from the happily sparse construction of "Far Away", the record seems content to wallow in formless sonic textures. Undeniably beautiful ones, mind you, but mere textures nonetheless. This stuff lacks that oft-overused term: substance. Paradoxically, it feels slight in its constant, oppressive heaviness. "Amor Fati" and "Before" are both decent enough songs on their own (the latter particularly deserves mainstream success, perhaps in the form of a car commercial - hey, if Sleigh Bells could do it, so can Greene), but they're so similar to one another that when placed on the same tracklist, they cancel each other out, rendering both songs somehow lugubrious. Worse, the close proximity of these nine songs highlight all of their less desirable qualities and none of their appealing ones; my ear is drawn to Greene's fondness for mind-numbing repetition instead of his commendable talent for creating pretty spaces that his voice can swim aimlessly around. And so Within and Without is a considerable disappointment, ultimately sounding like a slowed-down Tiësto record, bobbing along with little or no sense of actual direction.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
conradtao
Emeritus
June 27th 2011



2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Streaming here: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/22/137340922/first-listen-washed-out-within-and-without

Had this written for a couple of days. It's not a great review by any means, but I feel like trying to write more words would be a waste of my time. Certainly is one of the prettier records I've heard this year, though.

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2011



10331 Comments


fuck this genre

Digging: Literature - Chorus

AggravatedYeti
June 27th 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fuck you both.

conradtao
Emeritus
June 27th 2011



2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Look at those ratings

I'm really just crashing a small party here, aren't I

Tyrael
June 27th 2011



20829 Comments


Great review as always Conrad, though I must agree with Klap4music...

AggravatedYeti
June 27th 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you've had it out for chillwave since you started popping up around here tbh you can't really crash the party when we begrudgingly invited you in the first place.

review is well stated conrad i'm just not sure I agree yet : )

conradtao
Emeritus
June 27th 2011



2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

ahahahahaha Dylan

AggravatedYeti
June 27th 2011



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that cover does kind of bug the crap out of me though...

alachlahol
June 27th 2011



7489 Comments


DIDNT SEE THIS COMING

this is fuckin stupid this album owns

ECRbubs
June 27th 2011



687 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is a disappointing, if not that surprising, album. Good review once again, pos'd. You could maybe refrain from using "textures" as much, but that's a minor qualm.

alachlahol
June 27th 2011



7489 Comments


who expects substance from a chillwave album

conradtao
Emeritus
June 27th 2011



2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this dumbass

Kiran
Emeritus
June 27th 2011



6001 Comments


i'm gonna like this even if it's bad

cvlts
June 27th 2011



8954 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i am disappoint

Athom
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2011



17204 Comments


cant wait to offer up my counterpoint

edit: new memory tapes leaked too?!?! yesssssssss

conradtao
Emeritus
June 27th 2011



2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Can't wait to read your counterpoint! And yeah, I'm looking forward to the new Memory Tapes

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2011



15019 Comments


fuck you this is going to be awesome

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2011



23807 Comments


someone was telling me that this is much better than Life of Leisure. who to believe, who to believe.

I guess I'll have to listen for myself and form my own opinion WHAT THE FUCK

pizzamachine
June 27th 2011



12571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hmm, I think this is a pretty good album, but it's just so boring.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2011



23807 Comments


that's what I expect with this guy so I'm still optimistic.



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