Washed Out‘s retro-nostalgic vid for Before, from the Within and Without album. Great stuff. This artist is on fiyah.


…On Washed Out’s first full-length album, Within and Without (out July 12), it’s obvious from the echoing wall of synths in “Eyes Be Closed” that Greene is looking to fill big spaces with these songs. Live instruments also play a bigger role on Within and Without than on his previous work. The melancholy album centerpiece “Far Away” still rests on a backbone of simple, driving dance beats, but here, Greene shrouds his softly cooing vocals in chiming xylophones and mournful, rustic strings. Demonstrating that he’s a skilled composer even without a synthesizer at his fingertips, “Far Away” might be the most unabashedly pretty song he’s ever recorded.

For all of the leaps forward that Greene has taken on Within and Without, it’s still unmistakably his work — all of the changes here are just iterations of his established sound. At the core of Washed Out is a push and pull between electronic dance music and pop music, between songs based on slowly shifting and building textures and those built on a more traditional verse-chorus-verse structure.

Greene is able to slip deftly from one sound to the other, thanks largely to his vocals. Although his range is limited, he possesses a thorough understanding of the roles the voice plays in each genre from which he pulls. The vocals in “Echoes” are as murky and treated as any other piece of the song; their role is to add texture rather than to provide a dominant melody — an approach widely used in the world of dance music. “Amor Fati” follows immediately afterward, and features a prominent vocal part with a clear (and catchy) chorus hook that’s decidedly high up in the mix. Greene never makes these differences immediately obvious, though. With Washed Out, he seems content to just make people dance, oblivious to the strings he’s busy pulling behind the curtain.

Within and Without / Washed Out