If anyone knows the value of anticipation, it is Washed Out. Somehow, two years have already passed since the Georgia-born artist returned to his hometown of Perry to produce the embryonic tracks that would ultimately be released on the EP, Life of Leisure. The EP quickly catapulted him onto the radar of musical tastemakers throughout the blogosphere. And, at long last, the artist, whose real name is Ernest Greene, has released a full-length album, called Within and Without, an auditory tome that is sure to please the ears and the hips.
On the frenetic Life of Leisure, Washed Out introduced us to the possibilities of synthpop when married to lo-fi sound. It is very much akin to The Velvet Underground meets a slowed down version of 90s dance music. And that is definitely a result worth listening to. Tracks like "New Theory" and "Feel It All Around" are a glimpse into the gossamer tones that appear on Within and Without. Opening with "Eyes Be Closed," this song will make you want to do just that--granted, you'll probably want to have ingested some of that lovely little drug formally known as MDMA in addition to having your eyes closed while you listen to it.
"Echoes," the second track on the album, guides the aura of the music into a more upbeat, though simultaneously lackadaisical, arena. "Amor Fati" (a Latin term that means "love of fate") then continues to take you on an ethereal ride through the mind of Washed Out. The pace and sound of "Soft," "Far Away," and "Before" all bear similarities to one another, bracing for a brief shift on "You And I," where the emphasis becomes on Washed Out's vocals as opposed to the music itself.
As Within and Without arrives at its denouement, the title track exudes the calm and serenity of a day at the beach. The couplet that concludes the album, "A Dedication" and "Call It Off" (a bonus track on iTunes) is in perfect contrast, with the former song being one of the most serious on Within and Without and the latter song having the most levity. Looking at Washed Out's comprehensive body of work, it doesn't take a fortune teller to predict that there are many more rapturous beats to come.