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Album Review: Washed Out “Paracosm”


by Elizabeth Parker

Has Ernest Greene, father of chillwave, lost his golden chillwave touch? Or has it simply gone on vacation with the rest of the world?

Known for his dreamy, laid-back sound, synth virtuoso Washed Out has been providing tunes for hipsters to daydream to since ’09.

Washed Out’s newest release, Paracosm, is surely a change of scenery, if not mood. Instead of epic and angsty the entire album sounds like it’s been sun-warped and faded from too many days by the pool.

The tracks are peppered with shouts and laughter – commonly known as good timin’ party sounds. And then there are the wildlife noises. At times we’re not sure if he’s going for one of those albums they play at the spa, or if it is a genuine attempt to bring “nature” back to us, from the depths of technology.

What’s decidedly missing is an intense, edgy beat present in so many of his earlier tracks on Life of Leisure and Within and Without. Greene’s major achievement so far has been creating songs with a sense of movement. Paracosm is a little too relaxed and linear – like he’s singing from one of those floaty pool chairs, while half asleep in the blaring sunlight.

That’s not to say it’s a complete write off. Greene should listen to his stellar “Don’t Give Up” a few times – certain tracks do weave their chillwave spell.  Single “It All Feels Right” glows with nostalgia, conjuring images of silky summer nights and sepia-toned montages, while “All I Know” is the standout track with it’s soaring hook.

While Greene may do angst better than optimism, Paracosm is sure to be a hit with fans as the summer weather peaks. Not quite his best work, but Greene ultimately stays true to his genre with a twist, like a lime on your summertime beer.

Album release date: August 13, 2013

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