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BOTW Review: Washed Out- ‘Within and Without’

It’s hard to believe that Band of the Week, Washed Out, began as bedroom recordings when you take a first listen to his debut album, Within and Without, as the album, while not conventionally loud, still fills spaces, but the spaces it takes up are the subtler ones, the ones you might forget about. It floats in and out of the stereo, and while there are a few acts out there that produce the similar slowed down electro-pop as Washed Out, it’s the man himself- Ernest Greene, and his elusive voice that makes you turn it up and pay attention rather than just letting the album become background noise.

There’s something familiar about the entire album, sort of like a new sweater that’s already soft and warm from the first time you try it on in the shop. The opener, ‘Eyes Be Closed’(if you’ve been following the music blogs you’ve probably already heard it)  which sounds like it samples from ‘Porcelain’ by Moby, would be best suited for the opener of an indie film, where our anti-hero is driving at twilight in the Nevada desert or perhaps going for an early morning swim. It’s the elongated vocals that give the song a sense of movement, but not something that will cause your pulse to quicken, just a nudge to get out and do something, and second track ‘Echoes’ follows in the same vain. While ‘Amor Fati’ is a bit thicker in musicality with a heavier baseline that drops out only a little when Greene’s vocals kick in. The track adds texture and keeps you alert to the rest of the album, but Ernest still keeps his voice drawn out and floating so as not to jar you out of the trance the previous tracks have placed you under.

The personal favourite from the album doesn’t come until the end with, ‘A Dedication.’ The piano loop brings you back to that comforting familiarity and it’s defiantly the most chilled song off this chilled out album. As it comes to a close, and with it brings Washed Out album’s to close, everything just sort of fades as the last synth sounds, and the horns continue, almost as if Greene has come round to slowly turn down your stereo for you. It’s an album to put on to be calm and relaxed, and with a busy life, it’s the perfect compliment to keep balance.

Within and Without is in stores and online, so off you go. Get your copy.

-Stevie Pearce



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