Within and Without’s gentle sounds reveal intimate subtleties

Christopher Nguyen



On first listen, the debut album of Washed Out, Within and Without, floats and seems to disappear from mind, but further listens allow the gentle quietness and muffled vocals to soon take over and reveal an intimate album.

Like Bjork’s Vespertine, Washed Out, the moniker of Ernest Greene, sets out to reveal the sensuality and intimacy of relationships largely through the use of synths layered over traditional instruments.

On “A Dedication,” a simple piano melody soon becomes enveloped by a thumping beat and barely audible harmonies fall through the cracks of the music. The title track features a trip-hop inspired beat and ethereal synths over monotone vocals. Washed Out even shows off his pop instincts with “Far Away” and “Amor Fati,” featuring heavy layered beats on whirling melodies.

While many of the songs initially sound paper-thin, they transfix and reveal desire and lovelorn disappointment. So smooth and slinky, Within and Without possesses a sexiness rarely seen in so-called indie music.

Printed on 07/14/2011 as: Washed Out mesmerizes with ethereal subtleties