Washed Out - Within And Without

We were premature with our positive Within And Without Premature Evaluation. Blame the cover photo. Now’s a better time to discuss Washed Out’s Sub Pop debut: Anyone who heads to NPR can listen to the album in its entirety. Thoughts?

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Comments (26)
  1. My pick for album of the Summer. It will be playing for the entirety of my one-week beach vacation, and then it will disappear… along with my soul. Just kidding, I like my job, and I’ll be playing this for a while.

  2. “before” and “a dedication” are absolutely stunning. most of the rest of the record seems kind of monotonous my first couple of times through, hopefully that changes with multiple listens. even though it does feel monotonous, it gives off a good vibe and, like HartfordTheWhale said before me, it’s a great summer vibe.

  3. I really dig this album. It sounds just as lush as Life of Leisure, but much more polished. It sounds like he has a lot more confidence in his vocals, too…they’re much higher up in the mix and this album definitely benefits from it. Life of Leisure was one of my favorite albums last summer, and I’m really loving the sound of this album for this summer!

  4. An entire record full of summer Sunday songs. Absolutely loving it for what it is.

  5. “Before” is an incredible track. Loving this so far…

  6. first listen: love it. i really like how he’s incorporating a lot more sounds/instruments and even playing with the vocals in the mix from song to song.

  7. so far, so good. very good.

  8. If sun rays would have a sound it would be this.

  9. It’s been a long time coming and it was damn worth the wait.

  10. so so so good. drone-y and repetitive a bit, but that’s kind of what they go for. they hit their goal on-spot i think. excellent. perfect for the summer release too.

  11. Yeah, agreed. This album is pretty stellar. Specifically “Echoes.” The way that song builds itself is super fresh. Along with the ambient intro in “Before” that rolls (literally) into the main body of the song.

  12. Unlike his previous series of releases (High Times, Life of Leisure, 2010 Tour CD), ‘Within and Without’ doesn’t rely on the sound of processed samples and attempts to go.. further? Expand on the previous sound? But it’s flat and boring. The album will be perfect for summer parties, cookouts and the whole bang, in the background where no one will invest any real interest. Washed Out has failed to evolve like Toro y Moi and, assuming, Neon Indian. ‘Within and Without’ feels like the product of someone signed to a pretty big ‘indie’ (Sub Pop) and realized, “shit! I have to produce a product now and I can’t afford to clear all of these awesome samples?!”

    I’m bored with it. The new Memory Tapes is better.. and Washed Out have the worst album art of the year (that isn’t witch house).

  13. Nestea. Within and Without is like Nestea iced tea…it’s really enjoyable at first, as it’s sweet, simple, easy to get, familiar to you yet a twist on the real thing…but just like Nestea, you get sick of it after a short while and eventually, you don’t mind if you never have it again.

    Washed Out’s recipe hasn’t changed much (or at all, besides some slicker production and a bit more real instrumenation) from the older releases and they’re all just chill instant gratification tunes that are built from long samples of songs from nostalgic times without much actually done to them, creatively…and they’re so repetitive (usually without a “B” part to the song besides a simple change in the vocal melody) that they get old fast. There are surely good tunes (“Before” is very fun) but not many great moments. The vocals lines are so similar from one song to the next that the record doesn’t have much staying power as take 4 measures from an ’80s tune you dig, slow it down a bit, throw a brainless four on the floor beat to it with played-out drum hits any sample library software ships with, compress it too much (ya know…so it sounds “Washed out”) and tadaa! you’re Ernest.

    “You and I” was an amazing track but if you look at Washed Out’s catalog as a whole, there’s not enough going on…it’s a gimmicky formula that more surface than substance.

    Don’t get me wrong – like i said, several songs are instantly likeable and he showed some good promise with the older releases…but Within and Without wasn’t much of a progression as it was a plateau in amateurity.

  14. I think it’s amazing. A huge step forward from the predominantly sample-based material. Ben Allen’s production is top-notch, and it’s the perfect length. Front-runner for my aoty, hands-down.

    Also, re. the cover art:
    I found Ernest’s explanation behind the cover art really interesting:

    We really enjoyed the cover art for Within & Without. Could you give us a little background information about it and why you chose it for this project?

    I was down in Australia in December doing some shows, which was right around the same time I was wrapping up most of the demo’s and kind of had a basis of where I was taking everything. I picked up this magazine in Australia and that photo was featured for an ad for Martien Mulder’s—the photographer of the picture—solo exhibition at Kahmann Gallery in Amsterdam. The picture just made sense to me on a couple different levels. Within & Without has a very different sound compared to my previous work and is definitely a step forward. My last records were very, for lack of a better word ‘washed out’ and painted with hazy colors, so the stark white of that image just really made sense. And the content of it, I really like the idea of voyeuristically looking into a very intimate moment. That’s kind of how I think about the new record—a glimpse into some of the things I was dealing with at the time. I mentioned before how when I write it’s very mindless, but I think on this record particularly, a lot of my feelings come out of the songs, so I want that to shine through in the image. I think a lot of people have seen the album art as sort of this sensationalist, provocative thing but it was never meant to be that. It was more about just this fragile, intimate moment.

    - from this interview: http://www.baeblemusic.com/featuredarticle/An-Interview-With-Ernest-Greene-Of-Washed-Out.html

  15. “You and I” is my favorite song on the album, which is a song he recorded over a year ago, and it’s from “his old style”. I personally prefer his old style. It’s more melodic, more carrying-away than his new style. The new album is good, just not as good as his first EP. The “taking you away to another place/another time” kind of melodies are missing.

    • From his new style, only “A Dedication” rang “good” to me btw. The rest are ok, just a bit “meh”. Overall, a good album, better than most out there, just not as amazing as I wanted it to be. It’s colder somehow.

  16. Like it, don’t love it.

    In my opinion he kinda ruined ‘You & I’. Listen to the one from last year, and then this one. Even though he added new synths and more understandable vocals, it sounds like a demo, rough and unfinished. The gloss on it is gone.

    As for the rest…they’re decent, but I prefer when he sticks to slower tempos. If he put out a whole record that had slow beats like Feel it All Around/Belong/You & I, I would not complain at all. It’s what he excels at.

  17. He couldn’t have made a better follow up to Life of Leisure. Even though I suppose we classify Washed Out as chillwave, it always seemed his approach was very unique in that you could tell it was a Washed Out song (sort of how you can tell a song is by The Field)

    Listening to the new album proves that his aesthetic was strong enough to be stretched across an entire album. I listened to it (on repeat) with my friends late Saturday night by the pool and it really is too perfect for summertime.

    “Eyes Be Closed” is one of the best opening tracks on an album this year. Has to be, right?

  18. good background music for driving around with the fabric roof of your jeep detached as you return from the beach with sand in your shoes, tired from sitting in the sun and drinking burned a little…but it all sounds the same. it doesn’t really strike me as much of a departure from a lot of west coast shit these days.. calmly catchy, but nothing inspirational.. it could find its way cemented into your summer memory, only to have the name forgotten.

  19. A couple of songs are a little monotone…but overall I love it. Even some of the flat tracks are growing on me on second spin…and, yes, “Eyes Be Closed” be the bestest opening track I’ve heard in a while! In fact, the first three tracks just be flowing real nice!! :)

  20. Except for the early singles, I haven’t listened to this album yet. But it’s really pathetic that this website would reverse its critical stance. It seems like they read the reviews in Vice (bad) and on the NPR site (good), did some coolness calculation, saw they were on the wrong side, and decided to do a lame retraction. Why write your opinion about an album and ask others to read it if you’re unwilling to stand by it?

    I’m don’t regularly check “Stereogum” for reviews and I won’t bother from now on.

  21. Fantastic follow up of the EP, a really enjoyable listen. I think the cover art is great and its stupid that people are complaining about it.

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